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Graphic Design., Inspiration., Projects., Ramblings., REUTS., Writing.

Some New Things…

June 28, 2016
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Since the blog has been experiencing some radio silence lately, I figured I might update you with what’s going on in Ashley land, and what to expect in the future (read: it’s a lot).

Cover Art Tutorial

After all the interest I received from my previous cover art tutorial for REUTS Publications, I’m excited to revive it and offer a new cover art tutorial based on a dear friend’s manuscript. You can expect weekly (or bi-weekly, let’s be real… my summer is p-a-c-k-e-d) posts, from start to finish documenting how a cover design goes from an idea to an advertisement on a Barnes and Noble bookshelf. I’m super excited, so don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list (form below in the footer) to follow along!

From Dill to Dracula

Did I mention I’m busy? From Dill to Dracula is the source for a lot of my daily efforts. Honestly, it started as a joke. I tweeted about how Romanian recipes tend to be unhealthy, and how I should try to create a cookbook of interpreting Romanian recipes with a healthy twist. Playing off this joke-of-a-concept, I tweeted the hypothetical name of my cookbook:

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And then… I fell in love.

I secured the domain name and got to work. From Dill to Dracula has transformed a bit. I dub it A Romanian Food and Folklore Blog where I’m planning on sharing both my family’s Romanian recipes, as well as different cultural tidbits you might not be aware of. There’s already a recipe posted, with a few in queue awaiting release. For the first few months, I’m going to try and be ambitious, posting every week. Then, once there are enough posts in the blog, I’ll be cutting that down to every other week.

If you’re interested in following along, please be sure to sign up for my mailing list. It’s different from the one I use for Eventide & Barley, so you’ll need to make sure you’re signed up for both 😉

A New Writing Project

That’s right. I started writing another book. Except, this time, I already have 15k words written, and (almost) a full plot ready for execution! I can’t explain much about said book, other than the tentative title’s acronym ends up being OTSaON. Any ideas? It’s my first true attempt at Young Adult. Not New Adult. Not Adult. Straight-up Young Adult. And, you know how I feel about Happily Ever Afters, but I’m happy to say OTSaON features a happily ever after… for most everyone 😉

Inspiration., Writing.

A Pantser Finds An Outline.

April 13, 2016
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There’s no denying it—I’m a pantser. Always have been. Always will be.

Wait a minute. I might not be a pantser after all! For years, the traditional method of outlining a plot, whether it be on a screen or by hand, always discouraged me away from my writing. Each plot bunny would have so much energy and enthusiasm at the start, only to wither away as each chapter outline made it seem further from anything I’d be able to write.

Well, friends, things are about to change.

A wild plot appears!

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Welcome to Note App, a site that hasn’t paid me a penny to endorse it, but that I’ve grown to love. Above was the beginning structure to the outline for my WIP Oupia {A Temporary Title}This interface gives you a cloud equivalent to Scrivener’s cork board, at no cost to you (there’s a free version that should suffice).

And look at all the colors! I’ve broken my outline into multiple different sections:

Yellow stickies = Overview of information, so I have the characters going across the top, a key explaining all my colors beneath that, and the big yellow sticky is the premature query I wrote, helping me better define this story.

Green stickies = Full chapters.

Blue stickies = Scenes that need a home. Many of these are elaborated on and eventually become green stickies!

Pink stickies = Plot directions, where I define certain inner workings of my setting, since it’s sci-fi, after all.

Purple stickies = Questions that may or may not go against the established plot, and need to be revisited.

And, you know what? I’ve been having a blast outlining this story. Instead of blooming discouragement, there’s excitement at seeing all the pieces I do have figured out, which encourage me to figure even more out.

So, for those of you looking for a cloud-based non-traditional way to outline, I absolutely recommend Note App, from personal experience. I have a newfound inspiration to go through all my beginning WIPs and try to outline them, and I imagine I’ll walk away with writing a lot quicker first drafts, too.

What do you think? Have a non-traditional method of outlining/plotting your story you’d like to share?
I’d love to hear it!

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Inspiration., Ramblings., Random.

New Year, New Resolutions

January 9, 2016
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New Year’s Resolutions always seem so lofty and out of reach. I almost didn’t want to place any additional stress on myself by coming up with some for 2016. But, at the same time, wandering aimlessly through the year seems like it could be a waste of 365 days. We’re already eight days into this new year, and I definitely feel as if I need some sort of direction, even if they’re small goals, to get me back on track and in the motivated spirit.

And so, with that, I’m setting some resolutions for myself. BUT, instead of just blanket resolutions on the year, I’m breaking these up into short-term and long-term goals, where the long-term goals don’t necessarily have to be completed by the end of the year, but if I’ve at least started them, I’m happy.

Well, here goes…

Short-Term Resolutions:
-Learn to meditate / start meditating. We work out our bodies, I think it’s important to work out our minds, as well. And since my career is primarily a mental strain, I want to do my mind a favor and learn to do… nothing. So, armed with the phone app Headspace I’m making the leap into meditation and mindfulness.
-Blog more, both in a personal and professional setting. And I have some exciting things brewing on the horizon which might help me achieve this resolution.
-Finish writing one novel. I should be putting this under the long-term resolutions, but I’m determined to finish at least one of my WIPs this year. I have to do it.
-Enter a short story competition. I see so many in the writing community who participate in these fun short story/anthology competitions, that I want to join in on the fun, too! A more lofty short-term goal, but that’s the beauty of short stories: they’re short.

Long-Term Resolutions:
-Finish all my WIPs. Not necessarily likely to happen within the 2016 year (though I suppose it could), but if I’m able to make significant progress, I’ll be happy.
-Establish a better work-home balance. The reason this is under a long-term resolution is because I don’t want it to ever end, and I know it’ll be tricky to implement (being the workaholic that I am).
-Learn a new language. Probably my loftiest goals, but I’d like to at least pick up a new language with a basic understanding of how to communicate. I’m deciding between Italian and Romanian, and kind of feel like I need to stick with my roots, and learn how to have riveting conversations with Dracula.
-Volunteer more. I recently was accepted to a local human society to help socialize cats, and I want to make this a permanent part of my life. Nonprofit organizations thrive on volunteer work, and I’m happy to be part of that community.

Do we share any resolutions? Want to learn Romanian with me? Let me know in the comments!

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