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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Morgan Ashbury and her Wednesday's Words

I thought Morgan's Wednesday's Words fit nicely into my personal "Set goals for yourself" theme of January. :)
You Gotta Have Goals!! :)

I encountered a term just the other day that I must confess left me feeling very confused. That term: "three chapter writers".

Now when I saw this I thought, "hmm, I wonder what chapter these three writers belong to"? But no, it wasn't three `chapter writers'. It was `three chapter' writers. That is, writers who have never written any more than three chapters of any novel.

I'm trying to understand this concept. I really am. I know that there are copious contests for partial manuscripts—even for best first paragraphs—and that the purpose of these contests is to encourage writers to complete their books. That much I get. But you know, one could conceivably go a long time winning writing contests and prizes and never finishing a single manuscript.

"Morgan," some of you are probably thinking about now, "that sounds snarky." You'd be right. "Morgan," still others of you are probably thinking, "you know that writing is difficult. It's artistic and complicated and hard." Yes, you're right too.

One time a few years back when I was watching The News Hour on PBS, Mr. Lehrer was interviewing an author about his first book. We're talking upper case L here, for Literature. It had taken the man 10 years to write it. 10 years. To write ONE book. I'm not making this up.

Some may think this is a reasonable amount of time, because writing is after all an artistic endeavour.

To put the concept of `three chapter writers' into perspective, let me suggest the following comparisons (and here is where I'm going to get into trouble).

Imagine going to the doctor and asking him about the pain in your leg, and hearing, "Sorry, Mr. Jones. But I never got beyond the abdomen in medical school. Becoming a doctor is hard, you know. But hey, look at all my awards for Best First Semester!" Imagine having a plumber come to your house to unstop a drain. In the midst of the work, a pipe bursts, flooding your home. "Oh, sorry Mrs. Jones," says he. "I'm really good at drains. But this whole pipe thing...I just don't get it. Not really my milieu, you understand."

Maybe the problem is that I'm simply old fashioned. If you want to get something done...just do it. Writing is, after all, just one damned sentence after another. If you who are reading these words right now are among those who have never completed a manuscript, I know I am coming off insensitive (again). I don't mean to hurt your feelings. But can't you just finish the damn book?

If you call yourself a writer, then isn't it your job to write? Stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. Just do it! If you can't, then hey, on second thought, the problem may not be yours. You may be the victim of advertising.

There is an entire industry built around the unrequited novel. There are interactive communities on line that offer writing challenges and resources. They feature `tips' from published authors. Golly, I hope no one ever asks me to contribute any tips. You can imagine what I'll say: just write the darn thing! Some of these sites offer "incentives" to prod the writer along, to coax the author into being an author. I believe in incentives. I particularly like the one I use myself: the pride of accomplishment.

Some of these sites feature guest essays, too, by accomplished published authors, giving advice on how to finish a manuscript. Can you imagine me as a guess essayist? "Okay, sit down at your computer. Open a new word document. Place your fingers upon the key board. Now, one word at a time, begin to write. Keep writing until you are finished!"

Is there any other area in the arts that celebrates uncompleted tasks? Is there like, a bakers `Half-Baked Hall of Fame'? Baking is, of course, one of the finest culinary arts.

Is there an Art Gallery somewhere on the globe that celebrates the begun-but-never-completed painting? Or at the very least, an exhibit hall in a museum somewhere dedicated to "One Stroke Wonders"?

How about the musical score that is only half composed, the landscaped garden only half planted, and the motion picture that is only partly filmed?

So why do we so openly and so often celebrate the incomplete story?

Writing is hard work, no question about it. The author begins with a blank page, and must paint in words a picture so complete, must take the reader on a journey so fulfilling, that the reader will feel as if the completion of it was their own achievement.

Hard work, yes. Artistic, yes. But only alive and breathing and in possession of a soul, when it is complete, when it is whole.







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Monday, January 28, 2008

No lurkers on my blog...

Guess I'll try my contest later and advertize in a different place.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Lurker's Contest :)

Here is a contest for all you lurkers out there. :)

To win a (pdf) e-copy of The Mercenary's Wife...

Send an e-mail to me at:

In the subject line put The Lurker's Contest

And answer the following three questions from the excerpt posted at The Mercenary's Wife page at Siren Publishing or click on the link here : The Mercenary's Wife at Siren

1.) How much did Tyler Blackthorn bid for Valentina Moorehouse at her auction?

2.)What was Veronica's silent message to the mercenary she'd hired?

3.)How many rules did Tyler Blackthorn have and how many did of them did Veronica Moorehouse break?

This contest will run from now until Sunday, January 27th at midnight E.S.T.
All the correct responses I get will go into my blue bear basket and I'll select one and post the winner Monday morning on this blog.

Good luck. :)


Monday, January 21, 2008

The Mercenary's Wife is Released!!

Buy a copy of

The Mercenary's Wife HERE. :)


Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Mercenary's Wife at Siren Tomorrow

Tomorrow at Siren...
The Mercenary's Wife will be available for sale.

Woo Hoo! :)

A blurb:

[Futuristic] Tyler Blackthorn's newest bride becomes permanent after she drugs and deceives him. Veronica Moorehouse will stop at nothing to save her sister…even incurring an unforgiving mercenary's wrath.

To read an Excerpt of The Mercenary's Wife Click HERE

Don't forget to pick up a copy. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday's Words by Morgan Ashbury

I'm a writer of novels and essays. Being a writer isn't what I do so much as it's who I am. It defines me at the core. Because I am a writer down to the bone, how I look at things, the way I process information, the thoughts I entertain on a daily basis, my reactions, interactions, and interpretations are intrinsically different from someone who's not.

Words are important to me—my words, and the words of others. More important to me, I believe, than they are to the plumber or the carpenter, the welder or the weaver.

Words are important to most of you reading this, too. I think the majority of the people who peruse my essay week after week are writers (and if you don't think that puts a certain pressure on yours truly to excel, guess again). So let's take a minute and talk about something that touches most of us who are lovers of words in a uniquely personal way: reviews.

One of my fellow authors has recently asked me: Do people have nothing better to do than to poop on other people's work? The occasion for this question was a review she received. This review was written, not by a reviewer, but by a reader, and posted on Amazon.

It wasn't a kind review. Having read the work in question, I can tell you that in my opinion, the review was way off base. Selling very well, this particular book received 4 stars from RT Book Review magazine.

Words can enrich, empower, and inspire. But they can also cut deeply and wound terribly. And nowhere is this truth more evident to me than in the reviews we writers receive on our work.

You've all been told this old chestnut: `Don't take it personally'. Am I the only one who realizes that this phrase was created as a disingenuous cop out, a deliberate oxy-moron? Don't take it personally, indeed.

In the beginning is the blank piece of paper – or a blank word document. Writers take this vast emptiness and fill it with their thoughts and dreams, their ideas and emotions, their hearts and their souls. They pour all that they are into their work, sparing no personal insight or trauma or humiliation. They do so bravely, and without any guarantees of safety. What they do is the equivalent of standing naked on a stage, with the spotlight shining down revealing every extra fold of fat and ugly scar. There is nothing more personal than the writer's act of writing, and anyone who urges a writer to `not take personally' a review or critique has lost touch with reality.

Yes, I know there are works out there that aren't very good. I'm not advocating giving poor writing high marks. That would diminish us all. But are cruel, cutting words really necessary? I don't think they are.

I once judged a short story contest given by well known author Kelley Armstrong. Kelley wanted to give to these aspiring authors more than a chance to win a prize; she wanted them to get something of value in return for their entry. She wanted them to receive a fair and balanced critique. The same holds true on her website, in the Online Writers Group. Yes, point out areas that need improvement, but do so as kindly as possible. Give constructive criticism, don't destroy dreams.

Any reviewer who thinks, "Well, I'm going to tell it like it is and I don't care if I hurt the author's feelings or not", has an agenda that has nothing to do with giving a fair and honest evaluation.

So to answer my colleague's question, yes! Yes, some people have nothing better to do than to poop on other people's work. Just like some people have nothing better to do with their time than to complain about everything under the sun. After all, the Sesame Street character Oscar The Grouch resonates with us for a reason. We all know at least one person exactly like him.

So the next time someone denigrates your work with words of cruelty and abuse, go ahead and take it personally. Take a moment to focus on your hurt feelings, if that's what you need to do.

Then rub your hands together in glee and consign your abuser to a fate worse than death in your next novel. Don't get mad, get even. Trust me, you'll feel better for it.



Thanks, Morgan. :) I adored this week's Wedneday's Words. You know why. :)

If you'd like to read Morgan's Wednesday Words each and every week...Here is the sign up link for the Siren Books Loop at Yahoo.



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fantasm Awards and The Wives Tales

The Wives Tales: The Miner's Wife, The Executives's Wife, & The Lawman's Wife is a finalist in the Fantasm Awards. Woo Hoo!

Best Futuristic Romance and Best Overall Sci Fi Romance

Fantasm Awards Finalist Announcement

Best Futuristic Romance

  • The Wives Tales by Lara Santiago
  • Insufficient Mating Material by Rowena Cherry
  • Heart of a Peacekeeper by Angela Verdenius

Best Overall Sci Fi Romance

  • The Wives Tales by Lara Santiago
  • Polyamorous Princess by Melodee Aaron
  • Hara's Legacy by Bianca D'Arc

Fingers crossed. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

5 Enchantments for The Forgetful Spy

The Forgetful Spy got a fabulous review from

Enchanting Reviews

Check it out.


Romantic Suspense
Siren Publishing
ISBN# 1-933563-21-4
$ 5.99

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Rachel Mills is a no nonsense fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants agent who seems to break all the rules. At least that is what her superiors think of her. But Rachel is so much more. Laurie Peterson is a quiet yet loving librarian who has never had anything exciting happen to her. That is, until she meets Colin, first falling into him at a police station and then at the library where she works. The only problem is, Colin is an Agent and her Aunt will have a fit.

Colin Riley, a secret agent, was first caught by Laurie and her head long flight, tempting and definitely alluring, then he met the exotic beauty Rachel. Now Colin has to choose between the two. Or does he?

If you want to know more about Colin, Rachel and Laurie and their interesting love triangle, then you have to look no father than “The Forgetful Spy”. I promise you will not be disappointed. This story has all the suspense to keep you reading and all the love to make you sigh, and it is all wrapped up together with the creative and talented mind of Lara Santiago. To miss this story or any of her others is a real crime.

November 2007


Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm busy!

It's only the middle of January.
How can I already be so far behind? :)
Maybe I'm not. Maybe it just seems that way.

So far this year...I've been thinking up goals, making lists, bowling once a week, attending writing seminars, meeting with my critique partners, doing edits, thinking up new stories to write, writing new books, being a treasurer... sigh.

I should also my office, cleaning my house, cleaning my room, making a dent in the never ending laundry pile, shopping for food, preparing meals for my family, and a whole host of other things which wait for my attention.

How will I ever fit it all in?

All my possibilities point to the fact that my creativity will send me on a path of discovery wherein rests my passion to write...if I can ever get all my chores dones. ;)

"All I want to do is write some books. I've got a feeling...I'm not the only one."
(sung to the Sheryl Crow's, All I Wanna Do) :)

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Forgetful Spy at Fictionwise!

The Forgetful Spy has made it to Fictionwise.
Woo Hoo! :)

Here's the link:

The Forgetful Spy at Fictionwise



Friday, January 04, 2008

Coming soon...The Mercenary's Wife :)

Good news! The Mercenary's Wife is coming very soon.

A Blurb:

The Wives Tales

The Miner's Wife : The Executive's Wife : The Lawman's Wife : The Mercenary's Wife

Four women auctioned off to genetically bred strangers in separate venues are uniquely destined to discover love in unusual places.

The Mercenary's Wife

Tyler Blackthorn's treacherous thirteenth wife drugs his food on their wedding night and initiates a sexual encounter he barely remembers. The vital information she possesses about his past saves her from his ultimate wrath.

When Valentina goes missing, Veronica Moorehouse will stop at nothing to find her younger sister, even if it means incurring the lifetime fury of an unforgiving mercenary.

Their quest becomes a flight of survival when an assassin bent on killing elite Tiberius officials implicates them in the plotTyler because he's one of a handful skilled enough to have pulled the trigger and Veronica because a secret witness places her with the elusive hired gun.

From an abandoned genetics lab in the Colorado Rockies to the big sky country of Montana, Tyler and Veronica must work together to prove their individual innocence.

But only one of them is innocent.

Sensuality Rating: SCORCHING
Length: Plus Novel (79,000 words)

Stay tuned. :)

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

At long last...I'm back home

It is so wonderful to be back home.
Visiting the family is great.
Vacation is fun.
Travelling is not so bad... even closed up in a sedan for 2000+ miles with two teenagers. :)

Coming back after a long time of living out of a suitcase is fabulous!!

And...2008 has got to be great!


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