Anthology Signing 2016- Save the Date

Author Ashley Crookham, writer's cat
life of a writer’s cat

Save the date!

When: April 20th, 2016 at 5:30PM.

Where: Washington County Library in Hagerstown

On this Wednesday night, the authors and editor of the “Western Maryland Anthology 2015” will do readings and answer questions about their latest collection of short stories. There will be a raffle for a free copy of the book. They hope you come, and bring a friend.


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)


Dr. Dale Grove’s book signing

Ashley Crookham author with Dale Grove book signing

“On Dec. 5th from 1pm to 4pm author Dale Grove was at The Fine Arts Company signing copies of his book Loose Strings, a romantic science fantasy novel. Dr. Dale A. Grove is a product developer by day and a writer by night. He has a vivid imagination in creating new products and stories, and he has worked at such firms as Owens Corning, Johns Manville, LNP Engineering Plastic, and US Silica. Dr. Grove holds over ten US patents.”- quoted from

Ashley picked up a signed copy of Dale’s latest book to add to her collection by the author. Check out this prolific writer, a member of the Western Maryland Writers Group, at:

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update #4


I wrote over 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th!

What I learned:

Don’t stop no matter what. Keep going until it’s done.

Fear, time constraints, lack of inspiration. None of them are as important to me as my writing is.

Rough drafts are a perfectly natural part of the writing process. They are not set in stone; they can be refined. They should be refined. There is a magical place where you feel “done” that is worth the effort it takes to get there.Love, Ashley (Crookham)

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update #3

NaNoWriMo breakfast: chocolate croissant frittata
NaNoWriMo breakfast: chocolate croissant frittata

Imagine your book is a painting you’d like to complete.

Painting is difficult! Few people make a well done, interesting, painting with depth.

Sometimes people only seem to like paintings of already-famous painters so it can seem pointless to try to break-in.


NaNoWriMo is a time limit to make the pencil outline of your “painting”. At the end of the month, you’ll have 50,000 words (I currently have 32,702). Due to the time limit, there aren’t many spare minutes to use your eraser. Instead, you focus on completing the outline, knowing nothing is permanent. Then you take a step back and look. You might be pleasantly surprised. In December, you can make changes you think are necessary, then you begin to fill in the painting with color.

In the end, you may not recognize the original work you did during NaNoWriMo. However, you never would have finished the lovely painting in front of you if not for challenging yourself to complete your daily goals. Love, Ashley (Crookham)

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update #2

It’s cold in the sun room where I write. I also find it difficult to turn off my brain at night while thinking of my story- I’m not getting much sleep.

author Ashley Crookham writes in sunroom

One morning I thought, my hands are cold. I should go warm them up in the microwave.

Luckily it’s not possible to microwave just yours hands. My fingers are still functioning.

Back to NaNoWriMo I go.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)





NaNoWriPro tip: Use your computer’s photo booth to practice the feelings of your characters so you can describe their facial expressions. This would work with a mirror too, if you’re willing to leave your chair.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update #1

Author Ashley Crookham coffee stationI am officially in my second week of NaNoWriMo. There are four weeks in November, so that means I am over 25% done with the endeavor. My word count is a little behind. Still, I’m feeling positive and looking forward to seeing what my first draft contains. There is no time for editing while I’m cranking out 1,667 words a day.

Every morning I wake up three hours before work and make coffee. And write. After work, I turn off my office laptop, open my personal one, and write some more.

The nice thing about writing this way is there is no pressure to write well. My goal is just to flesh out the outline. It’s a totally new experience and I bet a natural part of most “real” authors’ processes.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

Gender Chasm Blurb

NaNoWriMo 2015 begins tomorrow. I will be busy writing 1,666 words a day, so I thought I’d give you my first novel’s blurb to think about in the meantime:

Ashley Flanders two chicks“In a small nation, Women and Men have decided they are better off ruling themselves.

Freida grew up in a village of love and fairness. When her brother is captured Freida’s loyalty is tested. On her quest through the divided nation she sees what the future may hold if neither side is able to save itself.

Until then, there is a GENDER CHASM.”

Love, Ashley (Crookham)