May You Choose Love and Light in 2018!

Monday, May 21, 2018

My Favorite Most Inspiring Friends

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.

One of the songs I find myself singing or humming is from The Sound of Music “These Are A Few of My Favorite Things.” Since my February theme was about things I love, I am taking a bit of license to change this out to “These are a few of my Favorite People.”
Let me introduce you to friends who inspire me and others. They aren’t nationally well-known people but those of us who know them recognize their dedication to the less fortunate in our society.

Kris Bella and I’ve been circle sisters and friends since the mid-90’s. I will admit I didn’t understand why it was important to her to be one of the founders of Free Arts Northwest, but a decade and more later, I can see what she has accomplished. This non-profit provides opportunities for at-risk youth to be involved in art. Kris has her master’s in art therapy and is an adjunct professor in Marylhurst College’s Art Therapy program so she does know how healing art can be. The program Free Arts NW has that I’m most familiar with is Spring Break Film Camp. While I’ve not been to every premier I’ve been to more than one.

During this week in March, youth write, direct, perform, edit, etc. their own films. After they are professionally mastered, the Hollywood theater is the venue for the Premier. What I love about this program is that these youth not only have a chance to express themselves but they learn all the pieces to the creative film-making process thus gaining a life-long skill. Many of the youth come back year-after-year until they age out.

Kris is someone who dreams big and then follows her dreams. Check out her latest dream manifestation – Arte Soleil, a Studio and Marketplace (Gift shop) that she and her musician husband, Pete Fennell started. If you are in the Portland, OR area, check out Arte Soleil’s website to see hours and when Open Mic and other special events are scheduled.



When my neighbor Juanita retired, she told me that she wanted to volunteer. She’s always loved animals so she looked for opportunities to volunteer with  programs that support animals. Initially her time was spent with Project Pooch, a non-profit program that matches stray/rescue dogs with incarcerated youth.

Juanita started Beading the Odds another non-profit that she heads up under the auspices of Janus Youth Programs. BTO volunteers travel every Sunday to teach young men how to bead. They learn to make necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  Juanita attends several events a year to sell the items these young men create. Profits go into their accounts. They can keep items and give them as gifts to family members and friends.

Again, when they are released, these young men have a skill they can use (some are Very Talented artistically) on the outside.

Both Free Arts NW and Beading The Odds accept donations (cash or supplies). You can reach them directly or if there is a problem, please let me know and I’ll connect you.

Who do you have in your life who is an inspiration?

My first non-fiction book, Staying Sane in a Crazy World is available at your favorite e-retailer. By following the simple process outlined in this book, you can create your own personal staying sane plan when the world around you goes crazy.
Do you ever feel as if the world around you is tumbling out of control and there is nothing you can do to make your world a better place?

Do you ever wish there was?

Staying Sane in a Crazy World may help guide you toward stopping the tumbling and choosing how to take effective control of your life.

The reality is there is no One answer that fits all but we each have Our answer.

In this short guide, Judith Ashley leads you through a straight-forward process that allows you to find Your answers. Answers you’ll use to craft a Personal Staying Sane Plan that will help you regain and keep your balance whenever the world around you is out-of-whack.

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19


Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 


© 2018 Judith Ashley

Monday, May 14, 2018

My Favorite Author Inspirations



Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.

One of the songs I find myself singing or humming is from The Sound of Music “These Are A Few of My Favorite Things.” Since my February theme was about things I love, I am taking a bit of license to change this out to “These are a few of my Favorite People.”
As an author, I seek inspiration and support from many sources. My complete list goes on and on and on. However, like most of us, I have a few who are and remain at the top. Here is my short list along with a brief statement. (Yes, I could write pages about each one but I won’t.)

First, I want you to know that the people you read about last week and the ones you'll see in subsequent posts this month are all on this list. Even though they are on a different list they all support my writing and inspire me. I will encourage you to read my other posts about them.

Second, it's important to note that the romance community is overall open, generous and supportive. In over ten years, I’ve had but one less than positive experience.

At the top of my list are two women: Sarah Raplee and Maggie Lynch.

Sarah and I co-founded Romancing The Genres, an InternationalGroup blog. We are Celebrating our 7th Year! 

Sarah held my hand when we first started out and took on the majority of the techie tasks. We brained stormed ideas, who we wanted to invite to join us, created suggested blog topics and who we’d love to invite as guests.

Over the last seven years, Sarah has become a personal friend on top of being a writing buddy. She has graciously read some things I’ve written and given me input. Most recently she did the first round of edits on my newest romance Visions of Happiness (due to be released later in 2018). I always know that the purpose behind any of her suggestions is to make my story stronger so it is easy for me to read her comments.

Sarah is a talented author in her own right. Check out Blindsight a well-crafted paranormal romantic suspense. She also has short stories in the anthologies Love & Magick and Gifts From The Heart.

Maggie Lynch has been the publishing guru I’ve turned to over and over again since early 2014. Her book DIY Publishing was my first publishing Bible and still is next to my computer. Her more recent Author Secrets series remains a “must read” and is referenced as I wend my way through the publishing scene.

I publish through Windtree Press, an author cooperative that Maggie co-founded. She is the one who invited me to join in 2014. That invitation was instrumental in my believing in my ability to become multi-published. Maggie has been and continues to be inspiring and supportive.

While Maggie writes in several genres, I’ve read her Sweetwater Canyon series and highly recommend it. Healing music and healing relationships are common themes in this series.

Third isn’t a person. It’s a group. Several years ago, when I was in a leadership position within my RWA chapter, I started #ftb (finish the book) a forum for chapter members hosted through the national organization Romance Writers of America.

Every Day a core group of us show up to share our hopes, dreams and progress. We’ve become friends although several of us have never met each other in person. We span the country with one of our members in Maine. Most of us are in Oregon although we are on both sides of the Cascades. Nevada is home to yet another of us.

No matter what is going on personally or professionally, I know I can “talk” about it on #ftb and get support and more. We share health tips, recipes, vacation ideas and more. We sometimes ask others in the group for suggestions, ideas and to read a bio, blurb, etc. A more supportive, giving group of writers doesn’t exist (although maybe in Maine).

Who do you have in your life that is unflaggingly supportive of your efforts to manifest a dream?

My first non-fiction book, Staying Sane in a Crazy World is available at your favorite e-retailer. By following the simple process outlined in this book, you can create your own personal staying sane plan when the world around you goes crazy.
Do you ever feel as if the world around you is tumbling out of control and there is nothing you can do to make your world a better place?

Do you ever wish there was?

Staying Sane in a Crazy World may help guide you toward stopping the tumbling and choosing how to take effective control of your life.

The reality is there is no One answer that fits all but we each have Our answer.

In this short guide, Judith Ashley leads you through a straight-forward process that allows you to find Your answers. Answers you’ll use to craft a Personal Staying Sane Plan that will help you regain and keep your balance whenever the world around you is out-of-whack.

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 


© 2018 Judith Ashley

Monday, May 7, 2018

My Favorite Long Time Friends

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.

One of the songs I find myself singing or humming is from The Sound of Music “These Are A Few of My Favorite Things.” Since my February theme was about things I love, I am taking a bit of license to change this out to “These are a few of my Favorite People.”
This post is bittersweet. I’ve two long-time friends, women who’ve been a part of my life for decades. Michele and I’ve been friends well-over forty years. Judith and I are coming up on the thirty-eight years from when we met.
Although both have been integral parts of my life for years, one now has significant memory loss. Judith and I met in July 1980 in Houston, TX at The William Glasser Institute conference. She still remembers me but so many of our shared adventures as well as some of her own traumatic life events are lost to her.

Hell, Cayman Islands
Bled, Slovenia

No longer does she remember our adventures in The Cayman Islands (we went to Hell), nor does she remember our trips to Croatia and Slovenia much less our driving tour in Ireland (3 flat tires). If I bring up our time in Ireland in 1994, she does seem to remember bits and pieces. However, it isn’t a memory she brings up on her own. Even some of our 1980 memories are gone like our trip to Hell and killing a cockroach in a definitive and no nonsense manner.
Shocked? That was me. I’d never seen a cockroach and actually am responsible for its death because I asked her to come see what bug was in the bathtub. My peace-loving, quiet, staid friend had her shoe off and whacked that bug until it was smashed. Then she washed it down the drain.
I’d never seen her raise her voice much less engage in an act of violence before then and I’ve seen nothing like that since. My memory of that event brings a smile to my face. We had some good times!
One of our favorite views
My longest time friend is Michele. I met her through another friend at the time. We’ve survived ups and downs, ins and outs but our friendship remains strong. I think it’s because of the shared experiences in those early days. We loved going to the Oregon Coast for the day or a weekend. We attended a series of Personal Growth Workshops. She spent the night at my house because there was so much to talk over, so many perceptions to share about the activities. Even now, that time frequently pops up in our conversations.
All relationships that last over forty years have their challenges and ours has not been immune to them. We were both single when we met although I was a single parent. The year we were so involved in the Personal Growth workshops, he spent the school year with his dad. We've shared a similar spiritual path.
She married. I didn’t.
She moved. I didn’t.
We both worked, changed jobs and supported each other through the difficulties that come when working in mental health and social services. We both understood and understand that humans are capable of boundless generosity and unfathomable cruelty.
Buffalo is the middle drum
One of my favorite memories of Michele is when we made our buffalo hide drums. By the time we were through our fingers were red, swollen puffy appendages on red, swollen hands. Most of our drums we made together and some, like buffalo, are from the same hide.
Both of these women have transformed my life in so many ways. Their unflagging support through all my ups and downs, their encouragement as I delved into writing fiction and now non-fiction and their unconditional love has made my life’s journey easier.
Who do you have in your life that has “been there” for you no matter what?
My first non-fiction book, Staying Sane in a Crazy World is available at your favorite e-retailer. By following the simple process outlined in this book, you can create your own personal staying sane plan when the world around you goes crazy.
Do you ever feel as if the world around you is tumbling out of control and
there is nothing you can do to make your world a better place?


Do you ever wish there was?

Staying Sane in a Crazy World may help guide you toward stopping the tumbling and choosing how to take effective control of your life.

The reality is there is no One answer that fits all but we each have Our answer.

In this short guide, Judith Ashley leads you through a straight-forward process that allows you to find Your answers. Answers you’ll use to craft a Personal Staying Sane Plan that will help you regain and keep your balance whenever the world around you is out-of-whack.

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 


© 2018 Judith Ashley

Monday, April 30, 2018

An End I'm Looking Forward To!


Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.
For this fifth Monday in April I’ve decided to write about a subject I’m eager to have end—spring allergy season. In the past couple of years I’ve had more problems. Not because I’m sensitive to a new plant but because the plants that used to bloom sequentially now bloom concurrently. In the past I had a couple of months of itchy, watery eyes and runny nose. And those symptoms were not constant.
Now, in 2018, I’m using an Albuterol Inhaler and still have problems depending on where I am and what I’m doing. While I’m looking forward to purchasing geraniums and planting them in the pots around my back deck, I’m not looking forward to being outside to do that. If it is a rainy day I’ll at least breathe better. If it isn’t, I’ll most likely wear a mask to help protect me from the worst of the pollinated air.
I truly am looking forward to the end of spring allergy season. I’ll be happy to be outside until the summer heat hits (used to be a few days in the 90’s and even fewer in the 100’s—now it’s weeks of hot temperatures).
Fall? If there is no smoke from forest fires like there was this past year, I’ll be fine.
Winter? Winter is pretty much my favorite time of year. No allergies. I deal with the cold better than the heat. Love snow on the ground or better yet, watching the snow fall but not stick! The only drawback is the lack of color from the flowers in my yard.
And you? Is there a season of the year you want to end before it even begins?
If you’ve followed this blog you know that in addition to writing romance, I’ve also ventured into writing non-fiction. My first book, Staying Sane in a Crazy World is available at your favorite e-retailer. By following the simple process outlined in this book, if there are things in your life that drive you crazy, you’ll have a plan to change that!
Do you ever feel as if the world around you is tumbling out of control and there is nothing you can do to make your world a better place?

Do you ever wish there was?

Staying Sane in a Crazy World may help guide you toward stopping the tumbling and choosing how to take effective control of your life.

The reality is there is no One answer that fits all but we each have Our answer.
In this short guide, Judith Ashley leads you through a straight-forward process that allows you to find Your answers. Answers you’ll use to craft a Personal Staying Sane Plan that will help you regain and keep your balance whenever the world around you is out-of-whack.

On the fiction front, your complimentary copy of Lily: The Dragon and The Great Horned Owlis waiting for you. To download it, you need only sign up for my mailing list. I will not spam you and, you can always unsubscribe.
As an indie author, your support in the form of reviews is appreciated. Please note in your review that you received a free copy of Lily in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 

© 2018 Judith Ashley


Monday, April 23, 2018

Finish! or End!


Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.
Finish!
When do we ever truly finish some projects or aspects of our lives?
Yes, I can finish a book but if it really touched my soul, it is on my “keeper shelf” and will be reread.
Yes, I can finish painting a room but in time it will need a fresh coat.
Yes, I can finish with spring planting, fall harvesting but next year I’ll be doing it again.
Yes, I can learn something new, gain expertise in a new area, figure out something about myself, but am I ever “finished” growing as a person?
End!
The end of a journey?
The end of the road?
The end of life?
Even if I go on a completed journey at another time, it will not be exactly the same as my first trip. Something will have changed either in myself or the roads or the people I’ll meet along the way.
And the road? When I drive to another part of the town where I live, it also changes. If there’s been a few weeks or months, I’ll notice a new building, construction in the road itself, some house painted, new people on the street, perhaps a change in speed limit or traffic design. Even if it is a trip I take every day, there is something different if I’m open to seeing it.
Then there are some journeys that do take us to the end of the road – what lies beyond is the vast ocean or a canyon or river with no bridge to cross. And yet, if I take the same road on another day, there will be some aspect of that end-of-the-road view that will be different.
Our lives is another place where there is an end. There are a few people who are resuscitated and come back to live a bit longer. For the vast majority once we cross over or pass or die, we’ve come to an end. Whether it is “The End” or not depends on our beliefs.
During part of March and April, I decided to reread the seven books in my series, The Sacred Women’s Circle. I felt distanced from them because I’d been distracted from writing for most of last year and the first part of this one.
As a series, after Book One, the first scene in the next book picked up the next  circle sister's story. At the end of Book One, we learn Elizabeth is leaving the next day for Ireland. Book Two opens with Elizabeth in Ireland and ends on Winter Solstice. Book Three opens on Winter Solstice with Diana questioning her marriage after bearing witness to the unconditional love shared between Elizabeth and her new husband. Book Four opens at Diana's wedding. Book Five opens with Ashley and her new husband off on their honeymoon.
However, when I came to Books Six and Seven: 
Gabriella: Chaos and Symmetry and Sophia: Endings and Beginnings things changed. Each of these books start before the end of the previous book. Having just reread the series I pondered why these last two books overlapped in a different way. 
Of all the women in the series, these two had made choices along their paths that kept them separated for longer periods of time from the other women---both by choice and circumstances. In the end, they too had to face their personal demons, their fears. They had to accept help that was offered and even more daunting, they had to ask for help.
In the end, to no one’s surprise. they find the man who will cherish and love them unconditionally. After all, I do write romance.
In addition to contemporary romance or romantic women’s fiction, I’ve ventured into writing non-fiction. My first book, Staying Sane in a Crazy World is available at your favorite e-retailer. By following the simple process outlined in this book, if you’ve unfinished projects that drive you crazy, you can create a plan to change that!
Do you ever feel as if the world around you is tumbling out of control and
there is nothing you can do to make your world a better place?

Do you ever wish there was?

Staying Sane in a Crazy World may help guide you toward stopping the tumbling and choosing how to take effective control of your life.

The reality is there is no One answer that fits all but we each have Our answer.

In this short guide, Judith Ashley leads you through a straight-forward process that allows you to find Your answers. Answers you’ll use to craft a Personal Staying Sane Plan that will help you regain and keep your balance whenever the world around you is out-of-whack.

On the fiction front, your complimentary copy of Lily: The Dragon and The Great Horned Owlis waiting for you. To download it, you need only sign up for my mailing list. I will not spam you and, you can always unsubscribe.

As an indie author, your support in the form of reviews is appreciated. Please note in your review that you received a free copy of Lily in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 

© 2018 Judith Ashley

Monday, April 16, 2018

Finishing Books


Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.
Another “finished” project is my first non-fiction book Staying Sane in a Crazy World. I started that book in September 2017 with the idea that I’d publish it in November or early December. I knew it wasn’t going to be a really long book because my message was simple.
Know your Core Values.
Know what you can control/change and what you can’t.
Plan #1: Craft a plan (and I give the reader the format to create their own personal staying sane plan) to accept the things they cannot change and over which they have no control.
Plan #2: Craft a plan to change the things they can or at least the part of whatever the challenge is that they do have some control of.
This month I plan on finishing my edits of Visions of Happiness and send it off to my First Reader, who will do just that. Read it and give me feedback, input about what she likes in the story and what doesn’t work. I won’t have it back from her by the end of the month—but I will have sent it on to her.
If all goes according to my schedule (and I almost snorted as I wrote that), I’ll start working on another long-term project. I’ve been going to bundle the books in The Sacred Women’s Circle series. First three (3) in one bundle. Last four (4) in another and all seven (7) in a third.
By the time I finish the Bundle’s Project, I should have Visions of Happiness back.
There is something delicious about seeing long-term projects come to fruition. I’ll be sending notices to my mailing list as these projects are completed. Everyone on my mailing list gets an early notification and a special pricing. If you aren’t already on my mailing list, you can sign up here.
Here’s more information about Staying Sane in a Crazy World. It is now available at your favorite e-retailer. By following the simple process outlined in this book, if you’ve unfinished projects that drive you crazy, you can create a plan to change that!
Do you ever feel as if the world around you is tumbling out of control and
there is nothing you can do to make your world a better place?

Do you ever wish there was?

Staying Sane in a Crazy World may help guide you toward stopping the tumbling and choosing how to take effective control of your life.

The reality is there is no One answer that fits all but we each have Our answer.

In this short guide, Judith Ashley leads you through a straight-forward process that allows you to find Your answers. Answers you’ll use to craft a Personal Staying Sane Plan that will help you regain and keep your balance whenever the world around you is out-of-whack.

On the fiction front, your complimentary copy of Lily: The Dragon and The Great Horned Owlis waiting for you. To download it, you need only sign up for my mailing list. I will not spam you and, you can always unsubscribe.

As an indie author, your support in the form of reviews is appreciated. Please note in your review that you received a free copy of Lily in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 

© 2018 Judith Ashley