The Reading Corner Newsletter

April 2021

Hello Readers!

Hooray! We’re finally in Tucson. The desert air, blooming cacti, and heat do wonders for my soul. And I’ve got my work cut out for me—it’s a race to finish Jericho before my June 1 deadline to get the manuscript to my editor.

Publishing Update:
Still waiting to approve the narrator for the audio version of Answer Creek debuting in June through Orange Sky Audio. Also recently completed writing blurbs for four upcoming She Writes Press titles:

  • Sugar Birds, by Cheryl Grey Bostrom
  • Indelible, by Laurie Buchanan
  • The Long Lost Jules, by Jane Elizabeth Hughes, and
  • Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash, by Tammy Pasterick

In addition, I will be judging a regional literary contest this summer and preparing for an upcoming publishing conference workshop while out on the boat this summer.

Speaking of Polaris:
Our lovely 36’ Grand Banks is just back from the boatyard with a newly painted hull and new upholstery and canvases. Spanking brand new, she is! Due to COVID restrictions, we will not be permitted to enter Canada again this summer, but will be aboard Polaris all of July and August cruising Washington’s San Juan Islands and South Puget Sound. I hope to have Jericho out to beta readers during that time. After that, it’ll be time to send it out into the world and into reader’s hands.

Recommended Reading:
The following titles are recent favorites from high school friends (note that some titles are not current; it goes to show that good books are evergreen):
Ahab’s Wife, by Sena Jeter Naslund
Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah
Anxious People, by Fredrick Backman
A Country Year: Living the Questions, by Sue Hubbel

More of your questions:
Do you always have a muse while you’re writing?

Not a specific muse for all manuscripts, although for Answer Creek, I based the character of Ada Weeks on my high school friend Ann Thomas Aylesworth. For Eliza Waite, I propped an old photograph found at an antique store on my desk as my model for Eliza. For Jericho, I am using a painting by Tucson artist Alan Polk as a visual as I write the character Ruby Barlow. Usually, characters are either a mosaic of many people I have known or, most likely, completely conjured.

What is your favorite resource while writing?

That’s like asking what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream! They are all good! Aside from the Internet, the Thesaurus is my best friend. I labor over word choice and consult a Thesaurus multiple times per day. It’s uncanny (astonishing, astounding, exceptional, extraordinary, magical, miraculous, remarkable, superhuman) to find just the right (appropriate, correct, proper, suitable, legitimate, fitting, good, and true) words to use in manuscripts. Once a poet, always a poet. Words matter.

In closing:
We are so glad to be in the desert after a year self-quarantining in the Pacific Northwest. You might think for someone who grew up by the water that the desert would have nothing to offer. The desert grows on you. When hiking at nearby Catalina State Park, I’m often reminded to look for beauty in unsuspected places. That goes for people—and books—too. Can’t judge a desert/person/book by its cover alone.

Sending warm thoughts to all my friends and readers. I picture you often, on the shores of the Atlantic or Pacific, in New England or Great Northern woods, on the Great Plains or in the Rocky Mountains, deep in the South or far north in Alaska, or next door in Tucson. I miss you and hope to connect in person in the not-too-distant future. And for those of you I’ve never met, sending warm thoughts to you, as well, wherever life finds you.

Until next month, Happy Reading!
Ashley

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