What’s Next?

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Oh, and:

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And don’t forget:

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That is what’s been going through my head every time I think of writing lately. Translation: I freak out a little. I procrastinate. Then I realize I have two months to complete a manuscript that has been evading me.  Then I pull up my sleeves and get writing. Then I remember I only have TWO MORE MONTHS, yet still I procrastinate because of writer’s block. Then I freak out again. And the cycle repeats.

This is the first time I’ve written a novel with a deadline. My other two books I had written and sent to my publisher after I had polished them and taken all the time I needed. I took a deep breath of satisfaction (and nervousness) and hit send. But this time my publisher put their trust in me to create something good before knowing for sure if it will be good. The pressure is squishing my creativity, the countdown is numbing my fingers, and the fear of disappointing readers and my publisher is getting inside my head. But the contract is signed, so I have to do it.

“This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word in front of the other until it’s done. It’s that easy. And that hard.” -Neil Gaiman

Has anyone here completed NaNoWriMo? September is about to become my early NaNoWriMo. I have to write the rest of my book that quickly to finish with enough time to revise before November 1st. 50,000 more words.

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Aaaannnyway, you may be wondering what this book is all about. I can tell you right now that I LOVE it. I know–the above rant may suggest otherwise, but I really do love it. Just because something pushes you to your wit’s end doesn’t mean you don’t love it.

There aren’t many details to share yet. The title is still up in the air and the cover is in progress. It will be another Regency, this time full of adventure, runaways, danger, romance, and a touch of mystery–the biggest mystery being whether or not I will finish on time 😉 Like my latest Lies & Letters, the main character of this story has appeared on the sidelines in one of my other books. Any guesses who it is? I have loved getting to know this character more.

This new book will come out April 2018.

That’s all for now, but I will share more details as release comes closer. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Baby Story Series no. 2

Hello again, friends! I dug up another story I wrote as a little kid, and this one is very…interesting. It can also be found in the infamous “Book of Hallawean Storeas” notebook.

The Funny Cat

A rockstar play! Sounds cool. 😉

Dood. 

Who is this ‘star man?’

His legs are the most crazy of all…

That is one creative way to spell ‘escaped,’ I must say.

Masquerade

We hear the phrase “be yourself” all the time, and yet people walk around with more than one face–a public face and a real face. I know which one is the real face because it’s the one I always like better. In high school I would see a kid in the halls at school, see their social media profiles, see the way they acted at dances and in the lunchroom with their friends, and would brand them with my official punk sticker. Judgmental? Definitely, and I later learned that I should not have branded their mask before meeting the real person.

I would get to class, have a new seating arrangement, and be beside one of these decided punks. But they were smart. They led meaningful group discussions. They laughed and smiled and were easy to talk to. They were real. Then I saw them in the hall and they avoided my eyes, or made mean jokes to their friends, pushing forward the image they thought people wanted. It’s a masquerade.

 

Masquerade

 

I see the perfection painted with a delicate hand

Maybe if they didn’t like you, they’ll like your mask.

You hide because you don’t want to be found, but soon

You’ll forget where you put yourself.

It’s a masquerade.

 

First you wear the mask and then the mask wears you.

You smile, but it’s painted–

You speak, but it’s rehearsed, read from a script instead of a heart.

You walk on a map, sinking into footprints made by the ideal you

Back when you had a vision of the person you wanted to become.

You are a masquerade.

 

When you designed the mask

You doted the task

And no one asked

Who you really were.

The perfect personality is like a punishment

But it’s what you think the spectators want.

The real person is rattling bars of a cage

But no one can read between the lines so they just turn the page.

They don’t go deeper because your skin is made of steel.

Nothing remains that’s real.

People have forgotten that you even know how to feel.

You are trapped in the masquerade.

 

But when you’re all alone, and the spotlight is gone

The stage is clear, and empty auditorium seats sway

You tear off the mask, clipping off stitches of insecurity

But you still don’t throw it away.

For a moment authenticity is back

And the lights fade to black

And you breathe for the first time all day.

 

I see the reality painted with an unsteady hand

And I like the kid I see.

But you’re too afraid to let him stay

Tomorrow you’ll wear the mask again.

You can’t stop the masquerade.

***

I wrote that slam poem for an assignment once. I had to read it for my class (which was really scary) but chose that topic because I wanted it to sink in to the other people in the room. I needed it sometimes too.

We play roles, we have a ‘phone voice,’ we want to show the perfect side of our lives instead of the unimpressive, ordinary side.

I want to be the person I am with my family, with my closest friends, all the time. I’m tired of freezing up or turning into a shy person that I know I’m really not when I’m in social or public situations. I love to talk. A lot. I love to laugh. I get the incurable giggles at least once a day. But when I meet new people, or find myself among people that intimidate me, my mask comes on and I hide. My mask is shy, reserved, keeping my words to myself unless I can type them. My mask worries about what other people will think if I say what I really want to say, or if my heart will stop pounding enough that I can raise my hand and make my comment.

My mask isn’t the same as the masks of these kids I saw in high school, but what I didn’t realize then is that I still had my own. But my mask isn’t the face I wish I could be, it’s the face I wish I could overcome. Every mask is different.

Throw the mask away. Take a deep breath. I want to see the real face, and I want to learn to always show mine.

#stopthemasquerade 😉

<3

Ashtyn

 

 

Baby Story Series no. 1

You guys, this is going to be really fun! Periodically, I’ll be posting some of the stories that I wrote as a little kid, and I’m hoping I can get some other authors to find some of their childhood stories and participate. No guarantees, but at least I have a few golden ones for you.

*If you have funny/cute stories you wrote as a little kid, or if you have a kid that writes funny/cute stories, message me through my site! I would love to feature the stories in a blog post!*

To start, let me introduce you to the tiny me that wrote these stories.

I had a huge head, so I guess that’s why my imagination was huge too 😉

When I was about 5, I got my very own Princess notebook where I planned to write all my most secret diary secrets, probably about my kindergarten boyfriend that my friend and I shared. Please note that it says ‘No Peeking Pleas’ on the cover. That was probably for my brother.

This notebook must be full of wonderful, magical, romantic princess stories, right?

Looks like I changed my mind.

And now . . . I introduce to you . . .

 

This ^^^ reminds me of when Voldemort was on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head.

Not a fairy godmother, a magic pumpkin.

Please note the speech bubble – It’s meant to be a sound of relief, more commonly spelled phew. Just to clarify. . .

Again, if you have any funny little stories to share, please message me! I would love to feature them 🙂