Hello Readers!

What a wonderful weekend at the Orcas Island Lit Festival June 3-4 on beautiful Orcas Island in Washington’s San Juan Islands! I participated in a lively author panel moderated by Orcas resident and editor Mia Lipman Irwin. Joining me were sister Nancy Pearl Book Award winner Kelli Estes (The Girl Who Wrote in Silk; Today We Go Home), Vauhini Vara (The Immortal King Rao), and Nicola Griffith (Hild; So Lucky; Spear). We talked about inhabiting other eras as we write, using authenticity readers to gauge legitimacy when writing characters whose lived experiences are different from our own, and how much factual accuracy is needed to make historical fiction believable.

I also got to hear author friends Becky Mandelbaum (Bad Kansas, The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals) and Kip Greenthal (Shoal Water) speak in intimate lit circles. And of course, see Timothy Egan (The Immortal Irishman and Pilgrimage to Eternity)!

Any excuse to visit Orcas Island! And Darvill’s Bookstore!



Publishing Update

Final Cover Approved!

I’m thrilled with the final cover, and thankful again to authors Jim Jones, Jan Cleere, Susan Lang, Nancy E. Turner, and Laurie Buchanan for offering cover endorsements. 

As I wait for trade reviews to come in for Hardland, I’m busy doing a postcard campaign to independent bookstores and booking events. 

Preliminary list of events scheduled for Hardland: Do I need to add these to website?

Sept. 17: Peregrine Book Company, Prescott, AZ (in-person conversation with author Susan Lang) https://www.peregrinebookcompany.com/

Sept. 20: Village Books, Bellingham, WA (virtual conversation with author Susan J. Tweit) https://www.villagebooks.com/

Sept. 27: In Conversation with author Mark C. Jackson sponsored by Blue Cottage Agency (virtual) https://bluecottageagency.com/

Nov. 26: Watermark Books, Anacortes, WA (in-person book signing) https://www.watermarkbookcompany.com/

Other events are in the works around the country—including recording a new podcast through Harold Wilson of Delmarva Today (on local NPR Radio) on my platform of Combatting Domestic Violence. See my website for up-to-date info.

Book Club Appearances

Book now for late fall and winter book clubs, either virtual or in person. I’d love to meet with you and your book club friends. Contact me at contact@ashleysweeneyauthor.com to set up your date now! 

Always a Contest

Sharpen your pencils and write me the first line of a novel you’d love to write. Have fun with this one! I’ll publish your entries in an upcoming newsletter. One lucky winner drawn randomly will win ALL THREE OF MY NOVELS, Eliza Waite, Answer Creek, and Hardland. This is a one-time offer!  Simply email me at contact@ashleysweeneyauthor.com and indicate that you are interested in this contest.


In my first novel, Eliza Waite, 33 authentic recipes found in 19th century newspapers are imbedded in the text. In Hardland, there’s only one, Ruby Pie.

Ruby Pie

2-1/2 c. shelled pecans (or other nuts, currants, or dried fruit)

5 T. melted butter

1-1/2 c. brown sugar

1 T. flour

2 t. vanilla

½ t. salt

3 large eggs, whisked

Set pecans over warm piecrust. Whisk melted butter, brown sugar, and flour until thick. Add vanilla, salt, and eggs. Pour over nuts. Bake until golden and bubbly. Serve warm or cold.

Upcoming Reads for The Bookies

In addition to Hardland, these are the four other reads selected by vote for my Oro Valley, Arizona book club for the upcoming season:

How the Penguins Saved Veronica, by Hazel Prior

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, by Christy Lefteri

The Glovemaker, by Ann Weisgarber

Anxious People, by Frederick Backman

Other suggestions included:

 Deacon King Kong, by James McBride 

 I Thought You Said This Would Work, by Ann Garvin

 Plain Truth, by Jodi Picoult

 The Prophets, by Robert Jones, Jr.

 The Silver Star, by Jeannette Walls

In Closing

Our hearts remain heavy with all the violence in our world. My mantra is “Speak Up! Speak Out!” in any way you can to help combat violence in any form.

I’ll be taking my annual hiatus in July and August out on Polaris, so you won’t receive a newsletter for two months. You can still follow me on Instagram and Facebook under ashleysweeneyauthor and “see” you again in early September.

Until then, Happy Reading!