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?

 

Alphasmart

author ashley crookham alphasmart library

To write the rough draft of “Elaty Riaf”, I used my Neo by Alphasmart. This was the first time I have done this. Here are my observations:

Positives:

  1. not very expensive ($28 used on Amazon)
  2. comfortable to type on
  3. the battery lasts for a long time
  4. this is a word processor only, and therefore I am not distracted by the Internet while writing

Negatives:

  1. the screen only shows a few lines at a time, which makes it difficult to refer back to character traits and names
  2. no thesaurus
  3. when I was in public, people interrupted me to ask about the “weird keyboard”
  4. once I transfer the file to my computer, I no longer feel like using the Alphasmart
  5. I must re-format for publication after transfer, rather than setting up formatting at the beginning of writing

 

Author Ashley Crookham alphasmart home

Overall, I would use this again, especially during times where I am on a strict schedule for writing. However it did not change my life enough to insist on use.

Have you used this before? Something similar? What did you think?

 

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

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

A Smile Among Wrinkles

Most of my writing time since April has gone into work and my activities blog. You can catch up with my life as an activities director here: http://ashleyflashley.blogspot.com/

My fairy tale short story is coming along though. If I don’t finish editing before the anthology gets submitted, I will post it for free.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

Lost Man Interview

Taken from the blog of Dr. Dale Grove

peterpan-capitainhook

2016 Goals: April Update

The writing highlight of April was the book signing. My fellow authors and editor of the Western Maryland Writers Group 2015 Anthology dressed up to complement our short stories. We each introduced our pieces and did a brief reading. Questions from the audience followed, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Many thanks to the Hagerstown Public Library for the event.

Author Ashley Crookham book signing April 2016

My story for the 2016 Anthology is writing itself. I have been privileged to give feedback to other contributors this year, and I feel sure this book will be a great read.

Love, Ashley (Crookham)

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)

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)

 

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.