Category: Gender Chasm

Submitting to Submission

Gender Chasm is completed, thanks to Nanowrimo. I have edited it for content and sent it to beta readers for feedback on any plot confusion. When it comes back I will run it through AutoCrit again to smooth out any repetition and make better choices.

So now I sit back and relax.

Nope.

It is time for me to research potential publishers. This is my first foray into the Writer’s Market and I am fascinated. In 80 pages, I have gathered 27 initial potential publishers which I am sure will diminish upon further scrutiny.

Have you ever selected a book because you trusted the publisher? I think I might from now on. If you have a genre you enjoy, there is a certainly a book maker who specializes in it.

Here are some comments from what book publishers are seeking:

“Canadian authors only”

“Midwestern authors in a Midwestern setting”

“Hispanic literary creativity”

“LGBTQ-focused works only”

“targeting modern women”

“avoid cutesy”

“ask probing questions about the world around us”

“dark, edgy books”

“responds in 6-18 months if interested”

“include publishing history in query letter”

“a true literary marauder”

“does not consider erotica”

“as long as the romance element is strong”

“online submissions only”

“Do not fax or e-mail queries or mss”

 

I must confess, reading their desires left me wishing I had something in their niche (add a vampire, take out the sex, change my citizenship). However, I am proud of my work and will instead find a place comfortable with producing and marketing my type of novel.

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Coffee Break

Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company

My first outing in Indy was to a coffee shop called Calvin Fletcher’s. I had breakfast, nursed my first daughter, and bought a bag of whole beans as a gift for in-laws. I imagined what our lives could be here, and hoped it would include writing.

As I finish editing Gender Chasm, I have been thinking about that trip. Many times I’ve desired to come back. Today I put my two children in daycare, left the house a mess, and brought my editing notebook with me to a table in the corner. I ordered my coffee “for here” so I wouldn’t be tempted to go home and check on the beef stew I have cooking for our house guests tonight.

I love the coffee shop atmosphere- mismatched plates, man buns, and music I wouldn’t normally listen to. If I hadn’t come I could have worked a little harder on scrubbing the kitchen. I could have made my own cup of black brew and not taken the risk of driving to the city.

Instead I took a coffee break.

 

Do you ever give yourself the breaks you deserve?

 

The Palm of My Hand

When you mention the word “author”, the first person I think of is a celebrity who seems to have it all together. She is prolific, travels broadly, and posts about her day to day life without mention of the struggles of creating something she’s ready to publish.

When you mention the word “writer”, the first person I think of is someone like me. Someone who is not ready to share their novel with the world. I think of other writers who drink, eat too much, give up, complain.

I am proud of my words in the newspaper. I am more proud of the short stories I’ve published. And to help ensure I’m one day proud of my novel, I’ve developed a healthy reward system for myself for completing my daily writing goals.

The reward is not a full glass of red wine (which I can’t indulge in while breastfeeding) or a handful of candy (which I can’t indulge in while setting a good example for my one year old). Instead I wear a piece of jewelry related to writing. I don’t wear it on the day I complete my goal. I wear it the next day. This means I have the jewelry on to inspire me to keep going. I like seeing it and thinking about the work I did. If I don’t complete my goal, I want to wear it and it further motivates me to meet my goal on that day.

This system has kept me happy, sober, and not in a sugar coma.

 

What do you do to stay motivated? What do you think of when you hear the words “author” and “writer”?

One Minute Per Day of the Year

January 1st (Day 1/365). One Minute.

January 2nd (Day 2/365). Two Minutes.

December 31st (Day 365/365). 6.083 Hours.

 

For this year, my plan was to do one minute of editing per day of the year for all 365 days. Here are the benefits to my plan so far:

  1. Easy to begin. Having two babies in a row has made it easy for me to say I don’t have time for my writing. But only expecting 1 minute from myself was difficult to deny. As the minutes build, it feels very natural and not overwhelming.
  2. Encourages me to finish editing early. As the year progresses and the minutes increase, I expect I would have to not sleep in order to complete my goal. Instead, I cheat by doing more than my allotted minutes in the hopes of readying my manuscript before the end of the year.
  3. Reminds me to think about editing as a daily task. It’s not about whether I’m going to edit, it’s about how long I will edit for. It’s not optional. Sure, some days I don’t put in the time equal to the day of the year. However any time is better than getting off track and ignoring my novel.

I have shared my goal with my writing buddy, and his encouragement has also helped me stay on track. I love being able to honestly tell him I am keeping my commitment on this.

How tenable would something like this be to you? Would you prefer it a different way?

Coffee & Tea

Now that the Western Maryland Writers Group 2016 Anthology is out, I have returned to editing Gender Chasm.

When I’m working I like to have a beverage at the desk with me so I thought I’d spend one post discussing my favorite ways to brew and steep.Author Ashley Crookham coffee station

Hot Coffee. Even when I’m not restricted in my caffeine consumption, I tend to use a few scoops of decaf in with my flavored grounds. My favorites are chocolate, hazelnut, and Scottish grog.

Author Ashley Crookham hanging mugs

Old Coffee. I tend to make a pot of coffee, but only drink one cup. The rest I put in a reusable mug and stick it in the fridge for the next day(s).

Cold Brewed Coffee. Overnight in coffee sock. So worth the wait. Any flavor is clarified and crisp.

Author Ashley Crookham coffee sockHot Tea. I pour water into the mug, then dump that amount into my stove kettle. I use tea bags or loose leaf tea in my hanging tea man. My favorites are Celestial’s tension tamer and Yogi’s bedtime.Author Ashley Crookham hanging tea man

 

Cold Brewed Tea. Insert into filter, screw onto a mason jar, and you get tea to take to work the next day.

Author Ashley Crookham tea drawersI drink all of these black. (Well, as long as I’m not meeting old friends at an English tea shop where milk and outstretched pinkies are required.) Coffee first thing in the mornings, tea is for when I get home from work.

 

What do you like for coffee and tea? Is anyone out there able to live without both?

 

Elaty Riaf interview

Dr. Dale A Grove took time from writing his latest novel Outlier Revolutions to interview Ashley about her soon-to-be-published short story.

Here is a little more information about Dale:

“Dr. Dale A. Grove is a product developer by day and a writer by night. He has worked for such firms as Owens Corning, Johns Manville, LNP Engineering Plastics, Tekni-Plex, and US Silica. He possesses a vivid imagination in creating new stories and new products with over ten US patents.

In his spare time, Dr. Grove has written four books in the science fiction genre entitled, Gray Maneuvers, Gray Extraction, ELIZA, and most recently Loose Strings. His next book entitled Outlier Revolutions will be coming out in 2017. It’s the story of a mentally deranged, yet gifted female transporter that battles for evolutionary dominance on a frigid ice world.

For further information on these and other short stories check out his website, or go to Amazon.com or Goodreads.com and search for books by Dr. Dale A. Grove.”

 

Interview 11/27/16

  • Dale: What inspired you to write the story Elaty Riaf?

Ashley: One day, as I navigated the oceans of online dating, I thought about how much easier it would be if fairy godmothers were real. Then I had a pessimistic thought about the usefulness of magical godparents. That became the crux of this story.

 

  • Dale: How did you come up with the name Elaty Riaf?

Ashley: Read her name from end to beginning.

 

  • Dale: Why did you choose the occupation that Elaty Riaf has? Did you do research on it or have you personally experienced it?

Ashley: I have personally experienced the role of activities director and saw no reason Elaty couldn’t be in the same position. My passion for this story comes from the life lessons taught to me by the elderly people I’ve worked for.

 

  • Dale: The dating conversations were particularly humorous, especially how they tied into the rest of the Fairy Tale. How did you come up with those lines?

Ashley: That was the most fun part of writing this. Some of the lines were straight out of my dating inbox. I just altered them with fairy tale references. A good use for some of those negative experiences. One I couldn’t fit in was “I want to sniff your glass slipper”.

 

  • Dale: I understand that the author of Elaty Riaf is working on a full length novel. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Ashley: I took time from editing Gender Chasm to write “Elaty Riaf”. My novel is a new adult fiction about a girl named Frieda who tries to save her brother. The theme is Men’s Rights. In their world, the nation has been divided into two sides: one ruled by Men, and one ruled by Women.

 

  • Dale: Do you believe in the happily ever after ending?

Ashley: Yes. You can live ever happily if you find someone who loves you for you. You both need to want to be besotted. If you have those things, and the same life goals, I believe all dragons can be defeated.

Ashley Crookham in a castle