Lies and Letters COVER REVEAL and Introduction

I learned something over the last few months–It’s really hard to keep my own secrets. With the anthology releasing last week, I didn’t want to bombard everyone with too much book news and make things confusing. But I’ve had the cover for my new book since November, people! And I finished writing it almost a year ago. I wanted to share the news so many times, but I managed to wait until now.

Finally!

Lies and Letters, releasing this July, is another regency romance following the story of an unlikely character from Mischief and Manors. Although it’s a spinoff, this story is meant to stand alone. There was a character in my first book that I felt needed an opportunity to grow, and this book did that for her. I’m so excited for you all to read it!

I learned so much from these characters and I hope you will too.

First, the gorgeous cover design by Priscilla Chaves:

 

Isn’t it so pretty? The color and little details are beautiful and very fitting to the mood and setting of the book. My favorite element has to be the fancy writing overlaying the whole thing.

And now…here’s a little more about this book.

This story is more than a romance (but still very romantic, don’t worry ;)) It’s heartbreaking at times, a story of a girl who faces trials, just like us all, but that end up working for her benefit. She is selfish and egotistical, outrageously flirtatious, and just rude.

In the beginning.

I thought I was crazy for committing to a character like that, but I think the thought and love that I put into this story could never have been so great if she had begun the way she ends. If she had already known the things she learns, or if she had already discovered how to be kind and to love. My heart went out to her once I realized that we are all a certain way for a reason. No one is terrible just for the sake of being terrible. Sometimes they just need someone to love them, and to open their eyes.

I’m sorry if you dislike her in the beginning. I’m sorry if you want to wring her neck. Just read. Embrace her story. See the world through her eyes. Celebrate her triumphs, despair over her heartache, and understand her mistakes. We all make them. If you’ll do this, I hope you’ll feel the things I felt when I wrote this story. I hope we can all judge a little less and be kind a little more. I hope you can close the book with a smile and a sigh, as you’ve come to love these characters as much (okay, maybe not quite as much) as I have.

***

Read the synopsis below!

Charlotte Lyons has ambitions, and she won’t let anything or anyone come in her way. When her first Season in London failed to make her a suitable match, and she failed to win the heir to Willowbourne the following summer, she is desperate to find a titled and wealthy husband, if only to appease her mother. But when her family is struck with financial ruin, the stakes are raised even higher.

Sent to the cold, wintery northern tip of the English coast with her sister, Clara, Charlotte faces an uncertain future. Although she is expected to pursue the wealthy Earl of the town, Charlotte finds her heart and attention captured elsewhere–by a kind, mysterious man below her station. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined.

Coming July 2017! Available for pre-order.

 

The Importance of Creative Writing: Teen Author Boot Camp

There’s this amazing event held each year at the Utah Valley Convention Center called Teen Author Boot Camp. It has played such an important role in my progression in writing. I attended in 2015 and 2016. For me, it gave confidence. I wasn’t weird because I loved to write; there are actually a lot of teens that love to write. I won a contest. What?! I didn’t even know I was any good at writing. Maybe my book is good enough to be published, even if I was only fifteen when I wrote it. Maybe it’s good enough to be read by more than just myself.

I recently had the opportunity to appear on the morning show, Good Things Utah, with two of the amazing ladies, Jennifer Jenkins and Jo Schaffer, that put on this non-profit writing camp each year. You can watch our segment HERE.

They called themselves crazy for putting on the camp, saying that basically the only thing they receive from their hours and hours of work is the satisfaction of seeing young writers learn, grow, and have a fun time at their event. But still they love it. Non-profit really means non-profit. I’m amazed and grateful that there are advocates like this for writing. Donating so. much. time. It was great getting to know them better and I look forward to participating in TABC this year as a presenting author. It will be different and intimidating, but probably really fun. :]

Besides putting on this camp each year, these ladies have started a petition to protect creative writing in schools. You can sign it here.

From the ladies of Teen Author Boot Camp:

“Creative Writing in Utah is slowly being phased out in high schools across the state. This is a deeply concerning issue that sadly begins in elementary schools. Because narrative writing isn’t measured in state testing, many teachers feel pressure to put creative writing on the “back burner” to devote time to the more technical types of writing included in standardized tests. As a result, advocacy for Creative Writing is dwindling, and experts agree that students are not being offered the tools to develop their creative voice.”

Creativity is such a big part of me, and I find it in art, baking, music, and most of all writing. Where do you find your creativity? What does it mean to you? Sign the petition to support those that find it in writing.

On top of all this, these ladies are authors! Show them some love and check out their books! I will definitely be reading them soon. Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins, and Against Her Will by Jo Schaffer.

 

Unexpected Love Blog Tour

About the authors:

Heather Chapman: Being the youngest of four sisters (and one very tolerant older brother), Heather grew up on a steady diet of chocolate, Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables, Audrey Hepburn, and the other staples of female literature and moviedom. These stories inspired Heather, and she began writing at a young age. After meeting and marrying her husband Mark, Heather graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University and settled down in a small farming community with her husband and four children. In her spare time, Heather enjoys volleyball, piano, the outdoors, and just about anything creative.

Mandi Ellsworth: Mandi is an avid reader, a slow jogger, and disinterested in board games of any kind. She lives in Utah with her husband, three children and no pets.

Paula Kremser: Paula Kremser focused on a career in science for a few years after graduating from Brigham Young University. Several years later when she moved with her young family to England, Paula seized the opportunity to focus on her love of the Regency Era. The enchantment of the aristocracy and the fascinating stories from every stately home she visits have been both research and inspiration for her first novel, “Sophia,” and second, “To Suit a Suitor.”

Ashtyn Newbold: Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family and is the author of “Mischief and Manors.”

“Unexpected Love” blog tour schedule:
March 14: Literary Timeout
March 15: Live to Read
March 16: Seeker of Happiness
March 17: Rockin’ Book Reviews
March 18: Inklings and Notions
March 19: Kindle and Me
March 20: Hardcover Feedback
March 21: Writing Worm
March 22: Geo Librarian || Heidi Reads
March 23: Getting Your Read On || Bookworm Lisa || Mel’s Shelves || Singing Librarian Books
March 24: Bookworm2Bookworm || Making Life a Bliss Complete
March 25: Kaki Recommends
March 26: The Things I Love Most
March 27: My Book a Day
March 28: Katie’s Clean Book Collection
March 29: Blooming With Books
March 30: Jorie Loves a Story || Wishful Endings
March 31: The Dragon’s Nook

Beauty and The Beholder

Remember that anthology I got to work on with three awesome authors? It’s releasing in just two months! Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology is the official title, and here is the gorgeous cover:

This anthology consists of four marriage of convenience stories in a range of settings and time periods.

ASHBROOK ABBEY by Heather Chapman

FIRST COMES MARRIAGE by Paula Kremser

THE PRICE OF HER HEART by Mandi Ellsworth

and…

BEAUTY AND THE BEHOLDER by Me 🙂

This story was a lot of fun to write. I learned a lot from my characters through the weaknesses they were able to overcome and the lessons they learned. It was great to see Percy’s icy facade melt through Fanny’s energetic and often funny personality. Percy finds happiness and a very unexpected love he didn’t think he was capable of having after he lost something very dear to him.

Without further ado, here is the synopsis for Beauty and The Beholder. 

Marriage was never in Fanny Clarke’s plans. Every since a disastrous fire left her scarred, she doubted such a flaw could ever be overlooked by a man. Under the care of her grandmother, she lives her life of solitude without question. But with Fanny’s grandmother on her deathbed, she knows that soon she will be left destitute–unless she marries.

All the riches of his estate could never make Percy Wellington happy. At least not after he went blind. When his staff deserts his estate, he is left under the care of his cousin. But when Percy’s cousin informs him of his planned departure, Percy begins to doubt his ability to care for himself alone.

When a marriage arranged by chance brings Fanny and Percy together, they quickly learn that clashing personalities and battles of wit are not a recipe for a happy match. How could a marriage between quick enemies ever result in something such as love? But fate has a way of bringing even the most unlikely hearts together.
***
There you have it! I’m hosting a giveaway on my Facebook page to win an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of my part of the anthology. In a month or so, I’ll host another giveaway to win a hard copy of the entire book. Stay tuned!

 

 

A New Project

I’ve been trying to decide what to write next, and have been complaining everyday about how I just NEED a writing project to work on. After quickly brushing off the reminder that I have a 12 page research paper due at the end of thanksgiving break, with a firm “not THAT kind of writing, Mom” I decided on this:

If you need a new writing prompt, here’s a good one for today, especially today:

Write “I’m thankful for (something) I’m thankful for (something) over and over and over…

Here’s mine. I hope you will write one too.

I’m thankful for people, especially the type of people that believe Kind, Loving, and Honest are the best things to be. I’m thankful for a home that smells like Bath and Body Works cinnamon pumpkin wall flowers. I’m thankful for the pumpkin pie that I will eat today (note that I said the pumpkin pie not slice of pumpkin pie). I’m thankful that I have a family so nearby to share this holiday with: Mom, Dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. And grandparents–for them I am thankful for miracles; I have seen many this last week. I’m thankful for the knowledge that God lives. I’m thankful for the knowledge that He loves me every day despite every mistake I make every day. I’m thankful that these mistakes can be taken from my hand by Someone much greater. I’m thankful for snow because it means fuzzy socks and hot chocolate, not stuck tires and scraping ice off the windows. I’m thankful for education, because it means I can learn and grow; it’s a gift that means I have potential to reach my potential. I’m thankful for friends that laugh with me more than they talk with me, friends that have your back even if you forget to have theirs, friends that squeal over movies with you and share jokes that will go down in history. I’m thankful for my dog and his little black nose and that he hasn’t torn apart his Christmas sweater yet. I’m thankful for books, and the beautiful stories they tell. I’m thankful for perspective, because without it every story would be the same. I’m thankful to have been given the ability to write. I’m thankful that we can write our own stories and make real ones. I’m thankful for people that read, that took the time to read this, and that will try writing their own. I’m thankful for so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With <3,

Ashtyn

Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology

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Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology
Heather Chapman, Paula Kremser, Mandi Ellsworth, Ashtyn Newbold

Around the turn of the century, matches were made for all sorts of reasons–whether to keep a family together or simply to make ends meet. But love has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places! With four historical romance stories in one, this fun anthology will sweep you from the dance floors of aristocracy to the hearths of country living, leading to love through the most unusual circumstances.

Coming March 2017!

Product Details
Title: Unexpected Love: A Marriage of Convenience Anthology
Authors: Heather Chapman, Paula Kremser, Mandi Ellsworth, Ashtyn Newbold
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
ISBN: 9781462119790
Publication date: 03/14/2017
Price: $15.99

Mischief and Manors Blog Tour

Follow the blog tour to see what these bloggers have to say about the book!

December 13: Getting Your Read On
December 14: Compass Book Ratings
December 15: Cause Everyone Needs Romance
December 16: Book Loving Mommy
December 17: The Things I Love Most
December 18: The View From My Window
December 19: Mel’s Shelves || Wishful Endings
December 20: Katie’s Clean Book Collection
December 21: Bookworm Lisa
December 22: Jorie Loves a Story
December 23: Why Not? Because I Said So
December 24: Blooming With Books
December 25: Bab’s Book Bistro
December 26: Kindle and Me || My Book a Day || Rockin’ Book Reviews || Writing Worm || Fire and Ice
December 27: Jorie Loves a Story || Literary Time Out
December 28: My Love for Reading Keeps Growing || Robyn Echols Books

Must-visit Locations in England

When I think about England, and very often I do, I get all warm and happy inside. It isn’t the kidney pies and crowded London streets or ever-present rain, but the thought of what once existed there. I feel like Rapunzel sometimes, as if her floating lanterns are my England. Not to say going to England is my biggest dream, or the most important, but it’s one of many little dreams–a bucket list item. I want to see the places I’ve written about and all the grand estates featured in Jane Austen movies. I want to walk through the flourishing gardens and make friends with British people. Mostly just so I can hear them talk. I would listen all day. Then I would most likely try my hand at mimicking their accents, and they would be so appalled that they would no longer be my friend. BUT everything would be fine because I would be in England. 

If only traveling was free and I had a buddy willing to scrape up the money to come with me. (anyone, anyone?) We could do bake sales to earn the money?! Lots and lots of bake sales.

But because I hope I’ll go there eventually, I have compiled a dream list of the places I would LOVE to visit in England. In no particular order…

  1. Jane Austen House Museum in Hampshire

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Isn’t it cute? The museum houses a collection of artifacts like Jane’s writing table and her personal library. You can take yourself on a quick tour or stay as long as you want – you can even stay all day and have a picnic in Jane Austen’s garden.

2. Basildon Park in Berkshire

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It’s Mr. Bingley’s house, Netherfield! (From the 2005 Pride and Prejudice)

3. Belton House in Lincolnshire

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This one is especially special to me. It was my original inspiration for the house in Mischief and Manors. It would be amazing to see it in person! It appeared in the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as the house of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The only turn off is that Mr. Collins has been there. Yikes. He made me laugh but holy moly is he creepy!

4. Lacock Village in Wiltshire

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This 13th century village appeared in the BBC adaptation of, again, Pride and Prejudice as the village of Meryton. There’s a bunch of things you can do there, including visiting the village’s abbey and looking around the Fox Talbot photography museum. And BONUS: It was also used for several scenes in the Harry Potter films.

5. Horsted Keynes Railway Station in Sussex

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Also known as The Historic Site of the Best On-screen Kiss of All Time. You remember that scene at the end of BBC’s North and South? Thank you John Thornton for the many squeals and happy movie watching hours. I just had to throw this one in the mix. Eeep!

6. Lyme Park in Cheshire

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It’s Pemberley! I’m sure this house is so much fun to tour. I would eat it all up.

7. Stourhead Gardens in Wiltshire

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So the house at Stourhead is completely stunning and the Landscape Gardens featured in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice. One of the garden’s temples was used as the location for Mr Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth. And she says no. Crazy lady.

8. Compton Castle in Devon

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This castle is featured in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility as Mr Willoughby’s estate. Isn’t it gorgeous?

9. Mompesson house in Wiltshire

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This one was the filming location for Mrs Jennings’ townhouse, also in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. To me, this house is the epitome of an adorable English townhouse. I want to live there. That car parked out front totally looks like mine so…it’s meant to be.

10. Claydon house in Buckinghamshire

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This house was the location used for the ballroom scene in the 1996 version of Emma. You can tour the ballroom and visit the house’s museum room and browse its second hand bookshop.

11. Craster, Northumberland

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Okay. A little info behind my second Regency romance novel: It takes place here in Craster, Northumberland, close to the Scottish border. I think it is absolutely beautiful in a different way. Most Regency romance novels tend to take place in the lush countryside in stately houses and among flourishing gardens and fancy people, which I love! But there’s something about Northumberland that pulled me when I started looking at photos and researching a setting for my other story. I loved the idea of a place that is bright and green at the same time that it feels dreary and haunting. A place where the sky is grey more than it’s blue. With small houses and hard working people and handsome fishermen 😉 😉 My story may or may not include a handsome fisherman.

12. Dunstanburgh Castle

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Last but not least! This castle is also in Northumberland. It’s seriously breathtaking. It was built on the most magnificent scale, and rivalled any castle of its day. The dramatic ruins stand on a remote headland, reached by a beautiful coastal walk from nearby Craster. 

 

I hope this made you want to go to England. Hopefully one of these days (Or years) I’ll have some pictures to share that I took with my own camera. Keep dreaming, people! I’ll make it to England! Who’s with me?

Storytelling

I don’t think I’ve always been a writer, but I know I have always been a storyteller. Looking back, I can easily see where and when I started writing, but it’s tricky to think of where I started to love stories. I don’t think it ever started, actually. I think it has always just been a part of me and my need for creativity. In elementary school I took the Timpanogos storytelling festival very seriously (I was totally the queen of the storytelling festival ;)). I practiced and practiced the story I was going to tell, planning the actions, the sound of my voice, and the pauses–even where I would breathe–to perfection. I loved the thrill of standing in front of an audience and making them laugh, taking them to a different world for precisely three minutes when I was allowed a microphone and spectators. I loved stepping into the shoes of characters and giving them personality. I wasn’t a writer of stories, but I was a performer of them. I participated in plays, becoming the characters that I brought to life, stepping inside their stories, speaking their words and singing their songs. And I loved it.

When I look back on this, I wonder what changed. I still don’t know exactly why, but I stopped performing stories. I became shy in middle school. I was quiet and reserved. It stemmed from some super strong case of the self-consciousness that every tween faces. I stood in front of a crowd and I blushed. Like, so red that the boy I had a crush on in my sixth grade class pointed out my blushing in these words: Woahhh. Red. Embarrassing and traumatizing to an already insecure girl, right?? I could hardly read a paper in front of my classmates without shaking hands, and a racing heart, and I never lifted my eyes. I forgot about stories. I was too scared to chase them because at that point, it meant standing up and performing in front of my peers.

A few years went by this way, and the only way I experienced stories was through movies and books. It was like I was outside a room looking in through a small window or hovering over a chocolate fountain but never dipping that strawberry. (weird example, but made sense in my brain)

In high school, I was still shy. I’m still shy now, though some of my close friends and family will disagree. I just wasn’t a performer of stories anymore. But I learned through amazing teachers that I enjoyed writing creatively. I started to love the thrill of sitting in front of a keyboard, thinking of ways to make readers laugh, to take them to a different world for a certain number of words. I started to love stepping into the shoes of characters and exploring their personalities, letting them guide the story, watching their lives unfold. It was a mystery to me what they would say next and what scene would link to the next and get me to the end. I found my place in storytelling again–a place where it’s okay to be quiet and where you don’t need spectators, but readers. It’s a lot less vulnerable when you can hit the backspace button any time you want.

Whether I was performing stories or writing them, I think I’ve always had that desire to be a storyteller. But since I began writing, I see the world through a different lens. Everything is a potential plot–the story my professor tells about a chapter of history, the image of a guy riding a lawnmower past me on the sidewalk, the old lady standing alone on the corner of the street in a puffy coat. I find myself jotting down threads of dialogue that run through my brain and racing to write down a simile, metaphor, or beautiful thought that crosses my mind before I forget it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to performing stories; right now I’m comfortable here at my keyboard. All those performances were other people’s stories, still lovely and entertaining, but there is something different about creating your own story. A story that has never existed before–that can’t exist unless you create it because no one else is capable of creating the exact same one.

Isn’t that a fun thought?

If Austenland Was Real…

I’ve been dying to make a regency dress for so long but I never got around to it. Until now…!
When I’m working on a writing project I can’t work on anything else. Any down time I get I either brainstorm ideas, run to my laptop, or doodle my characters’ names. But this summer, as soon as I finished writing my second book and editing my first book, I felt like I had nothing to do in my spare time. I needed another summer project, so I stopped by Joann’s on my way home from work and finally picked out fabric to make a regency era dress. Yay!
My two favorite places to shop are either book stores or fabric stores. I can spend hours and hours at Joann’s. But luckily my feet were already sore from work so I was only there about two hours. That’s short for me.
After a while, I narrowed down my fabric selection to a cartful of at least a dozen fabrics.

I wanted to make a ball gown, so I was looking at the satin, lace, and chiffon options. But then I couldn’t decide on a color. In Mischief and Manors, there’s a significance to the color pink and a certain pink dress. So in the end, I decided to make the dress a pretty rose pink.

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Eventually I found a combination I liked and pulled out all my coupons and got out of there spending only $14. (I did have a $25 gift card) but I pretended that it really only cost $14. That sounds a lot better, right? Then I hurried home and got started. I used the simplicity pattern 4055 for the most part, but I did alter it a little. It turned out pretty cute! I used sew-on embroidery flowers on the bodice and a simple lace trim around the neckline and finished it with a ribbon at the waist.

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The most fun I had was trying it on and talking in a British accent while posing for pictures.

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It was such a fun project and I can’t wait to make another one! Another reason I didn’t make a regency dress before now was because I couldn’t think of a time I would wear it. I figured I could just make one and hold out hope that Austenland would become a real thing. Or time machines. But then I realized that those would probably never happen, and I settled for the next best thing: My book launch party! I know it won’t be for a few more months but that was a good enough reason for me. Even though it’s not Austenland, when you see me there, never fear, I’ll still most likely be looking like this:

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Tally ho!