Category: Authorness

From the Second Story Porch

This morning I will have the last breakfast in my twenty-three acre country home.

Author Ashley Crookham 2nd story porch picture 1 Author Ashley Crookham 2nd story porch picture 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is where I learned to drive manual, collected too many eggs from my chickens, made elderberry tincture, and went fishing with my cat. I rode in a front end loader in four feet of snow around the cliff edge of my driveway, bred mice, and hiked with a friend made too late. I drank thousands of cups of coffee made in the sunroom, shot a raccoon with my bow, hosted two Hunger Games parties, and wrote my first novel.

I’m lovesick for this place, but it’s time for a raw infatuation.

My new apartment, lacking the sounds of swollen streams in the morning and baby coyotes practicing their howls at night, is fresh and shiny and safe.

Tonight I will have the first dinner there.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

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2016 Goals: March Update

Author Ashley Crookham's cat

Editing is still underway for Gender Chasm. I’ve been getting useful and positive feedback from members of my writer’s group. Here is a quote they enjoyed:

“…Our storage barn is a carcass of wooden bones and peeling paint. Sunbeams above the red tin roof glow like a flashlight inside a cheek…”

For the next week and a half, I’ll need to practice reading for the Book Signing on April 20th. My business cards are in, and I can’t wait to share this with my fellow authors and editor. I’m especially looking forward to the theatrics of Dr. Dale Grove.

My focus for the rest of April is to put together the first draft of my Fairy Tale for the 2016 Anthology. What are some of your favorite fantasy stories from childhood?

 

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

Brandon Shane Warren Photography

You may have noticed a new photo on the home page.

Author Ashley Crookham
photo by Brandon Shane Warren
Author Ashley Crookham
photo by Brandon Shane Warren

At the end of January, with my driveway full of ice craters, Shane crunched and skidded his way to take my author headshots.

Author Ashley Crookham
photo by Brandon Shane Warren

 

Author Ashley Crookham
photo by Brandon Shane Warren

 

 

 

I chose him because he can stop time.

 

 

As usual, Shane made me feel comfortable. I told him what I wanted and let him take control. We trekked to different parts of the property. He made me laugh, and he captured my smiles.

photos by Brandon Shane Warren
photos by Brandon Shane Warren

Which photo is your favorite? When are you going to schedule your own photographs?

2016 Goals: February Update

I am behind on my goals, even with a leap day added into the year.  My new plan is to set more rigid deadlines for my editing schedule.

 

November goal: write 50,000 words
December goal: finish writing book to The End
January goals: go back to each chapter and add setting, change a bit of story line I want to add post-writing, and fill in gaps where I wrote “Fix”
X Fast Pencil printing of manuscript <-the code I received from NaNoWriMo did not work, and my request for support e-mail was never returned. This was a huge disappointment, especially since I spent so much time uploading my chapters.
headshots with Brandon Shane Warren Photography
February goals: polish words choices, make lists of character descriptions to make sure they are cohesive/ not overused, submit short story to Dragonfly contest  http://www.wearehopeworks.org/dragonfly/, try out AutoCrit
March goals: ready for publishing, send to first publisher, outline fairy tale short story project for anthology
April goal: Camp Nano. write fairy tale short story
May goal: edit fairy tale short story
June goal: outline short story for contest of choice. send novel to second publisher if have not yet heard back from first
July: Camp Nano. write contest short story
August: edit contest short story
Sept: prep short story for publish
Oct: outline my next novel. self publish first novel if have not heard back from two attempts at publishers
November: Nanowrimo write 50,000 words of novel #2
December: finish novel #2 to The End. market first Novel

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

 

2016 Goals: January update

Editing is tiring. Half of my brain is dedicated to the theater of my story. The other half is jealous because it has to perform daily tasks. I feel like I’m on autopilot, but the autopilot isn’t set for a conscious destination.

2015 Author Ashley Crookham writing with white headphones

My writer’s group met yesterday and we discussed goals for our group for the year. The following is a list of my own goals for the year. I’ll be re-posting this every month or so to keep myself on track.

November goal: write 50,000 words
December goal: finish writing book to The End
January goal: go back to each chapter and add setting, change a bit of story line I want to add post-writing, and fill in gaps where I wrote “Fix”
February goal: polish words choices, make lists of character descriptions to make sure they are cohesive/ not overused
March goal: ready for publishing. send to first publisher outline fairy tale short story project for anthology
April goal: Camp Nano. write fairy tale short story
May goal: edit fairy tale short story
June goal: outline short story for contest of choice. send novel to second publisher if have not yet heard back from first
July: Camp Nano. write contest short story
August: edit contest short story
Sept: prep short story for publish
Oct: outline my next novel. self publish first novel if have not heard back from two attempts at publishers
November: Nanowrimo write 50,000 words of novel
December: finish novel to The End. market first Novel

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

 

Goodreads Reviews: Why I changed my ratings

My real job is to help people learn about good nutrition.

I teach adults how to create balanced meals while sticking to their budgets. I teach older people how to adjust to making food for only one person. I teach busy parents how to find ways to add activities they like into their lives so they get enough exercise.

I teach young children to open their minds to new foods. I’ve fed kids quinoa, artichokes, and prunes.

What I’ve learned from kids is that there is often an optimal time to like something. Little Jimmy will eat a mushroom if it’s on his pizza. Little Sally will eat a raw tomato if she gets to pick it out of the garden. Little Kaden will drink skim milk if he gets to dunk a graham cracker into it first. Little Ryleigh will take a bite, but only if I take one with her.

All the time I tell kids they may need to try things over and over, in different ways, and with different people before they like a new food. I remind them that trying new foods is an act of bravery. I ask them for an instance of a time they tried a food for the first time, and they didn’t think they’d like it, but then they did. They can usually think of at least one example.

 

I used to be a harsh critic on Goodreads. Perhaps I wanted to prove myself as a serious reader. Perhaps I thought it was the job of the author to get my attention and admiration with their book, no matter what else was going on in my life when I chose to read their work.

Many of my friends are on Goodreads, and we have books in common. We don’t always give the book the same rating, and it occurred to me that perhaps the books I gave less than 4 stars to were just not read at the optimal time.

For example, I once didn’t like a book set in New York because I had just read a string of books with the setting. I was tired of it. If I’d have read it before a trip to NYC I was looking forward to, I might have loved it. This is how it is with books. Sometimes we’re in the mood for a serious book, sometimes we’d like something light to read. Sometimes we want to learn, sometimes we want to step away from reality.

Authors rely on book ratings to gain followers. Promotion of a book allows them to keep writing, to improve, to create stories the world is better off for hearing. A negative rating might influence a new reader’s perception of the book. They might not take a bite.

 

I spent one night deleting medium to bad ratings of books. I don’t think they were ever more than a representation of my mindset when I read them. I won’t go back and give 4 or 5 stars to books I read in the past, but I think in the future I will try to remember that every book must be judged not only on its merit, but also in relation to my reading needs at that time.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)