Books One - Seven are now available through JudithAshleyRomance.com, Windtree Press and your favorite e-retailer.

Check out my website: JudithAshleyRomance.com for more information about my books and appearances.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 and Smart Phones

Welcome, I'm Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, contemporary romantic fiction that honor spiritual practices that nourishes the soul and celebrate the journey from relationship to romance.

What are my goals for 2015?

One of them is to learn to use my ‘smart phone’ more effectively.

It’s humbling to know my phone is smarter than I am in some ways. I’ve now figured out how to set the alarm, add appointments to the calendar but will also admit to being irritated when it reminds me of something I know about.

I’ve also resigned myself to the reality that the phone function is Not its primary purpose. I can more easily check my emails than make a phone call!

How does this fit in with Dr. Glasser’s concepts?

When something is working, we keep doing it.

When something isn’t working, we look for other ways.

But there’s another concept at work here. We all have beliefs about the world around us and our place it. One of my beliefs is that I’m curious, intelligent and capable. Seeing so many people pulling out their smart phones and tapping in appointments, lists, etc., I decided to try it out. See what it’s like to be paperless (not really because I still have my paper system) but if this is a system that would work for me.

To be honest I really can’t see me totally giving up my organizational process. But I have begun to use texting as a way to communicate – usually easier than making that phone call.

I check my emails on my phone more often than on the computer – fast check only. I seldom answer through my phone because typing the answer this way takes waaay more time than when at my computer.

However, there is a problem with checking my emails this way. I can only check three of my 5 accounts. For some reason the phone will not sync to the 4th address I regularly check. My option to “fix” this is to spend time on the phone with the Comcast technical center to see if they can lead me through a process to connect this last email account to my phone.

My other idea is, when I pay my dues to the William Glasser Institute is to change that email address to a gmail account. Google plays nicer with Samsung than Explorer does.

What do you like best about your smart phone?

Do you have functions you wish worked better than they do?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Time Warps and To Do Lists

Welcome, I'm Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, contemporary romantic fiction that honor spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrate the journey from relationship to romance.

Does anyone else live in a time warp or is it only me?

In my memory, time used to be more consistent. Now it seems to zip by at warp speed or creep by.

It is the Monday before Christmas when I write this. Less than two weeks until 2015. A time for reflection?

What have I accomplished in 2014?

I’ve still a few tasks still on my To Do List but for the most part, major items are crossed off.

I will admit to being an inveterate list maker. I have a list of my 2014 writing goals next to my computer. Each week I write out my daily goals. What’s sort of cool is I have every week’s list for the entire year! I used to keep a daily organizer to keep track of appointments. This year I changed my practice to this weekly list. I think I’ll keep it for 2015.

What does this have to do with Dr. Glasser’s concepts?

Remember “All behavior is purposeful” and if something is working for us i.e. we find it helpful, we keep on doing it. I like the practice of sitting down on Sunday and writing out on a piece of paper what I want to accomplish the next week.

To be honest, what I like most of all about my practice is the crossing off of each task as it is completed.

OR

I circle the task and draw an arrow to another day. Sometimes a task transfers to another week.

However, when I finish it, I go back and cross it off wherever it was listed. Very satisfying for me.
How do you organize?

Are you a paper and pen/pencil person?

Do you use an electronic calendar (computer, phone, etc.)?

Check out my website 
I also blog the first Friday of the month at http://romancingthegenres'blogspot.com
My author page at Windtree Press


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

And The Winner Is!!!

Hi, I'm Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that feeds the soul and celebrates the journey from Relationship to Romance.

Last Friday I wrote a Blog Post "Help! I Need Help With Branding at Romancing The Genres asking for help in strengthening my brand. Anyone who commented was entered into a drawing for a $5.00 Starbucks (or Burgerville) gift card.

Drum Roll!!!!!!!!

And the winner is:

Terri Reed

I got some excellent suggestions and will be revising and refining and unveiling my new tag line and introduction on Friday, January 2, 2015. 

How does all this tie in with Dr. William Glasser's ideas? 

Very simply. 

I have a picture of myself being a successful published author. I've definitions and timelines to categorize my success. One of the things I've learned as I've traveled the publishing road is the importance of being visible, of having name recognition.

Readers buy books because they know the author and like the stories that author tells or there is something else that draws them. It could be the cover. It could be the title. It could be something on the author's website. It could be the consistent few sentences the author uses to identify herself (or himself).

That means an author's tagline, how she describes herself to the reading public is critical.

One major step for me to take to match my real life with that picture of myself as a successful author is to make sure the first words I use to introduce myself to readers are the best ones I can think of.

Thanks to Terri and the other people who shared their ideas with me. 

Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women's Circle series
Romantic Fiction that Feeds the Soul


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Four Layers of Politeness

By Judith Ashley

Do you ever have nights when you just can't slip over the edge into sleep?

Last night was one of those nights for me.

Finally, around 2 a.m. I got up and jotted down some notes - those pesky thoughts that just wouldn't go away for one: ideas for other blog posts, thoughts about something I read in a blog post  Melania Tolan put up on Google and a comment Michelle Knight made (she was one of the three young Cleveland, OH women held captive and tortured by Ariel Castro.

How does that all fit in with my current theme of exploring Dr. William Glasser's concepts?

One of the fundamental premises is All behavior is purposeful. 

Does that mean if I bump into someone at the grocery store I did that on purpose. Most likely not. But we all engage in behaviors that have consequences we don't plan for.

When Mr. Castro kidnapped the young women, held them captive and tortured them he did know what he was doing in that moment. Perhaps he was "sick" but he did know what he was doing. He did know he was inflicting pain, inflicting harm. After the fact he being sick doesn't mean he didn't know what he was doing. In reports I've read, he said he was sick and wanted someone to stop him. He even may have regretted it but not enough to release them, to stop, to get help for himself or any number of things he could have done.

Judith Ashley
I sometimes wonder what went wrong before the young women got into his car. Did they really not have any uneasy feelings or a sense that something was wrong?

Not that I'm an expert but my 40+ years in social services certainly has exposed me to predators and victims. My thoughts are not all that original in some ways but they are what I jotted down in the middle of the night.

The Four Layers of Politeness:

1. Women of a certain age were raised with similar messages. They were told to be nice to everyone, to excuse other people's intrusive behavior, to look at what they'd done if someone was abusive to them. Hearing that from early childhood "good girls don't shout, hit, kick, scream, yell, fight - well you get the picture". Women, in particular raised in this way, often don't even see a problem or feel uncomfortable.

2. Women of a certain age and those a little younger feel uncomfortable, maybe even see a problem but they excuse the perpetrator's behavior away. "He didn't know any better." "She's only a child."

3. Women, usually a little younger, feel uncomfortable and see a problem but choose not to act. What if they are wrong? What if they embarrass the other person? What if doing something makes it worse?

4. Women and now girls, in my opinion, often recognize the problem. Taking action is more prevalent today than ever before. How to handle difficult social situations, like on a date, is taught in some schools. Girls are encouraged to have and use their voices.

An example: I'm one of those "women of a certain age." When I was in elementary school and a boy grabbed a girls breast or purse to pull her Kotex out and run down the hall with it, girls were told "boys will be boys" and other than maybe a "you shouldn't do that", nothing happened to the boy. Today, a boy who did anything like that would be at least suspended from school.

Read about Ted Bundy and see how these Layers of Politeness worked for him.

Segueing back to Dr. Glasser - all behavior is purposeful. What do you want when you make the choice to act or not act; to perhaps appear foolish or embarrassed or if your inner warning signal is right on, live another day?

It's fairly easy to determine what our purpose is when we are kind and caring towards each other but what about when we aren't? All behavior is purposeful so when we snap at someone, cut someone off in traffic, say something mean or threatening - what is it we want in that moment.

Which Layer of Politeness were you raised with?
How have you overcome it or have you?

The women in The Sacred Women's Circle series were all raised with one of the Four Layers of Politeness being dominate. When you read their stories, see if you can figure out what those early childhood messages were. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Beginnings

By Judith Ashley

Last weekend I spent Saturday with an old group of friends (and made some new ones). In another part of my life I'm on the senior international faculty for The William Glasser Institute and we had a regional meeting.

So?

Our Region has had a series of Directors who've been more interested in their Glasser Institute Board duties than keeping the membership of the geographic area they represent connected. Our new Director has taken a year to get up to speed. She met with former Region leadership, supported faculty who were doing trainings, put up a new website because the previous one died when the hosting fee wasn't paid, etc. Last but not least she organized a day long meeting so we could reconnect and make a plan to move forward.

What I said when it was my turn to introduce myself: I'm grateful for this meeting because it is so important to me to have a place where I can come and know everyone in the room has a similar view of how the world works. Well, if you know me there was a bit more.

Judith
As a writer of romance that statement is true of chapter meetings and conferences. Everyone in the room is a romance writer or potential romance writer. And, as writers of romance there are ways we view the world whether we write sci fi romance or sweet inspirational romance. Our heroine and hero will have challenges, they will overcome them, more challenges will crop up and they'll beat them back. In the end they'll figure it out and have their happily-ever-after (or HEA).

My next few posts will focus on the teachings of Dr. William Glasser, a psychiatrist whose curiosity about how people work led to his development of Reality Therapy, a counseling modality. And from that his creation of an underlying theory to support RT as a counseling modality and in its use in schools, businesses, and an individual's life. That theory is Choice Theory.

You may want to check out The William Glasser - US website. We've a fantastic day of webinars coming up on 10/10/14. Leaders in the field of mental health are interviewed - you can check the listing so you can tune in to the people you most want to hear.

Curious about how Dr. Glasser's work is viewed around the world? Check out The William Glasser International website. We are teaching Choice Theory to the World!
Enthusiastic Group at 2014 Regional Meeting
Stay tuned to learn how to use Dr. Glasser's Needs Assessment Survey to improve your life or to create conflict between your characters.

http://www.judithashleyromance.com
http://www.windtreepress.com
http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.com
http://www.freereadsfromthegenre-istas.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What Am I Working On?

Today I’m participating in a blog hop. My first time ever! A bit of history:

MaggieLynch, founder of Windtree Press author cooperative, started this blog hop.

PatyJager, one of the first author’s to participate in Windtree Press, was next.

ChristyCarlyle, who writes Victorian historical romance and designs fantastic covers as Gilded Heart Design, was the third Windtree Press author to hop on.

I’m the fourth. It is possible this particular blog hop ends with four stops because I’ve not found another author to pick up October 1. If that changes, I’ll add her/his link to this post.

A blog hop is a way for readers to learn about other authors and perhaps become interested enough that they begin to read their books which is one of the main reasons writers write them.

So let’s begin:

What am I working on? I am diligently working on Ashley Book Four in The Sacred Women’s Circle series because I have a deadline – it’s due to my editor, October 26. The Sacred Women’s Circle series will be comprised of seven full length novels. Since each novel is specific to a member of The Circle, they vary from contemporary romantic women’s fiction to contemporary romance.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? There are many contemporary romances as well as lots of romantic women’s fiction. Mine differ in that they have a mystical spiritual element that is integral to the story.

Why do I write these stories? In some ways I have no choice. In 2001 and 2002, I had vivid day dreams and lucid night dreams about these seven women and their challenges. As I finish and publish one book, the next heroine invades my dreams. I’m curious as to what will happen when the stories are finished. What makes this so compelling for me is that I seldom remember any dreams and would swear I don’t dream except science says I do.


What is my writing process? I write the first draft – as straight through as I can. I learned how important that is to my writing process with Lily. that book took years!

Book two and three (Elizabeth and Diana) I started during National Novel Writing Month. I finished the first draft of Elizabeth in 51 days (over 112K words). Diana took a little longer because there were a couple of weeks around the holidays when I didn’t write at all. I finished that first draft mid-January.

Ashley is a bit different. I finished the first draft August 1, 2014 but I started the first draft in October, 2013. About half-way through, I paused to complete two short stories for the Love and Magick: Mystical Stories of Romance Anthology with Sarah Raplee and DianaMcCollum and published Lily, Elizabeth and Diana in e-books and print. Health problems and a granddaughter’s graduation from high school also impacted writing time.


Right now I’m editing and revising and am about half-way through the manuscript. Next is sending it to my editor to read. That is a different process – usually I have a Beta reader who is a whiz with grammar and punctuation read it and I make revisions based on her feedback before it goes to the editor but there is no time. I’ve a spot in my editor’s schedule and if I want this book published before the end of the year; this is what needs to happen.

So now you know the truth. Life happens and I scramble around, get my bearings and sit back down and keep writing. That is the only way these stories will be published and I’ll be back to my dreamless sleep.

PS: Do you think my being #4 on this blog hop and my working on Book 4 has any special meaning? Really, if this blog hop ends with me? A bit of mystical magick working?

PPS: You can follow another great blog by clicking “here

For free short stories click “here

To read more about The Sacred Women’s Circle check out my website and my author’s page at Windtree Press.


© Copy right by Judith Ashley 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Diana, Sarah and I had a Wonderful Time!

The co-authors of Love & Magick 
Saturday, September 20, 2014 marked the first time the co-authors of "Love and Magick" were at a book signing at the same time!

We were at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, OR.

Not only was "Love and Magick" available but the first three books in my Sacred Women's Circle series were also.

Diana McCollum made beaded book marks for the first twelve people to stop by whether they purchased one of our books or not. To add to the promotional opportunity, she and Sarah Raplee used cording to individually attach the book marks to the "Love and Magick" post card.

Judith and The Sacred Women's Circle books
I made up two mugs filled with chocolates and teas. I included our business cards and one from Windtree Press as well. Diana donated a box of Cadbury Chocolate Bars. Those three items were "give-aways" and an incentive for people to sign up for the Windtree Press New Release newsletter.

As you can see in the photographs, we had a Wonderful Time! (Thanks to Kayla Klefman for taking our pictures)

Diana McCollum, Judith, Sarah Raplee with Love & Magick
We'll next be signing out books at the Emerald City Writer's Conference, Book Fair, from 4:30 to 6:30 in the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Hotel, Bellevue, WA. We'd love to have you stop by. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of books are donated to DAWN (Domestic Abuse Women's Network).
Kayla Klefman, winner of the first drawing




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Signing Event

You can see this poster at Jan's!

Looking for a few great books to read? Diana McCollum, Sarah Raplee and Judith Ashley will be at Jan's Paperbacks, 18095 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, Aloha on Saturday, September 20, 2014 between 1 and 4 p.m. Diana, Sarah and Judith will be signing Love & Magick: Mystical Stories of Romance and Judith will have the first three books in The Sacred Women's Circle series available. Can't make the signing? Stop by Jan's and check out these and more great books by Windtree Press authors.


Judith and Sarah at Book Signing, April 2014



 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Future of Doors

By Judith Ashley (this post was first published on Romancing The Genres)


I'm very aware that this month's topic for the Genre-istas is "Favorite Romantic Cliches", after all I'm one of the Blog Queens who came up with this idea.

The only thing that came to mind as I sat down to write this month's post was "It was a dark and stormy night" along with "Time stood still" and "He was tall, dark and handsome". Not much for a 200 - 300 word post.

Doorway at Roslyn Chapel, Scotland
What did pop into my mind more than once was the phrase "When one door closes, another opens." I know those words do not fit the topic: romantic cliches. I'm not sure those words even fit cliche-status. Area they trite? I'm not sure but I do hope they are true.

Why? Because the weekend of September 5 - 7 I'll be working as an After Hours Consultant which translates into I'm a resource for vulnerable adults in Multnomah County, Oregon should problem occur after normal business hours. And, this weekend is the next to the last one I'll be scheduled for. I retire from this work on October 31, 2014.

October 1, I start my nineteenth year in this position - one night a week, one weekend a month (sometimes more if one of the other team members is unavailable).

What do we do? Tonight I was paged because a neighbor was concerned about a disabled woman in the apartment complex where they live.

Last weekend, the four team members split the long weekend. I had the Friday from 4 p.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday shift. My replacement has been hired and he shadowed not only me but the other team members all weekend.

Friday night a police officer called in with concerns about a man he'd checked on who had a head injury who was refusing medical treatment. When we went to his house the next morning, we found him on the floor, blood caked all over his head, face and upper body. The house was filthy with no electricity or water. The gentleman had no phone and was unable to call for help. I had my phone and called 911 asking for help. The fire department and ambulance responded and he was taken to an emergency room to be evaluated.

A woman who is on dialysis due to renal failure called. She was out of food. That call came in near the end of my shift so the next team member got her some food - enough to last through the long weekend.

One of my favorite places in the world - Depoe Bay OR
I tried to find a woman who was reported to be confused, thinking people lived in an apartment above her (there is no apartment above her, only the roof). She wasn't home.

One of the day staff was worried about an older gentleman whose roommate, who also did some care-giving activities, was arrested. He was managing well because someone else stepped up and made sure he had groceries, etc.

Since I made the decision to close the door on this part of my working career, I've had so many experiences. A dirty home that made it to the top three of all the homes I've ever been in (and that number is well over a thousand); taking police out with me twice in one day due to the reported possible danger I'd be in if I went alone; an EMT in his 20's or maybe his early 30's lecturing me about patient rights (I did not say anything snarky although I know one eyebrow arched and my jaw tightened).

In the last two months,without After Hours interventions, at least three people could have died.

When this door closes, I do expect another door to open. I'm not sure what will be on the other side. I am not picturing fleas, filth, rotten food, cockroaches, sticky floors, squishy floors - well, you get the picture.

The Blog Queens Book Signing - Desert Dreams 2014
When the next door opens, I'd love to see quality time to write, large royalty checks and books signings.
Whenever I offer a workshop or training, people will sign up! I'll have time to spend with family and friends at the coast, in the mountains and at home. In this utopia, weeds will not grow in my yard nor will any plants die.

My belief that when one door closes another opens is soon to be tested.

I

Friday, April 11, 2014

In Memoriam

Helen Foster Rawson Kirshman was born July 30, 1909, the first of five children: sisters, Ruth, Jean, Margaret and the baby brother, James. Helen was a true mother's helper and was, along with Ruth, the primary caregiver for Jean, Margaret, and James during those years when her mother's health was poor.

A fascinating fact, at least to me, is that Helen did not start school until her sister, Ruth, did. Ruth was eighteen months her junior. They started school together in St. Helens, OR and remained classmates until graduation from Lincoln High School in Portland, OR.

Helen and my cousin
My aunt Helen moved to Southern California and married. She and her husband had a daughter who is more than a cousin - but is also a friend.

When Helen celebrated her 100th birthday, it was a grand affair with her daughter, grand daughter, friends, nieces and nephews, and her surviving sister, Margaret, joining her. I promised myself that I would come back each year for the birthday weekend celebration (my cousin's birthday was in early August so these became joint celebrations at one point).

This year I will travel to Southern California to join a Celebration of 105 Years of Life instead of a 105th birthday party. Helen joined her sisters and other family on April 2, 2014.

She taught me the value of acceptance of those things we cannot change - although I will admit I still struggle with that one. She maintained as much independence as possible until the end when she still puttered around her bedroom and the kitchen even though she had to have caregivers because of her risk of falling. She read Reader's Digest books and showed interest in the world around her to the end. And, she encouraged my writing endeavors and looked forward to reading my stories. I do hope Heaven has a great library!

Learn more about my books at www.judithashleyromance.com

Friday, February 7, 2014

Turning Death into Love

Sometimes there is a level of synchronicity that reaches the point where I step back and take another look at what is happening. That is what the month of March came to be for me.

My father, Donald Christian Johnson, was born 09/19/1916. He was an active and healthy man who loved to garden and golf. He became sick in the fall of 1996, a lingering respiratory thing that just wouldn't go away. Many trips to the doctor and a couple of lung biopsies later (we are now in August 1997) he had exploratory surgery. The doctor found a cancerous tumor behind a massive lung infection. In September he began having problems with balance and vision and saw a specialist. By the time my dad saw an oncologist it was October. He'd been sick about a year. Diagnosis? The cancer had metastasized to his brain.

He died March 08, 1998.

My mother, Jean Elizabeth Rawson Johnson, was born 03/25/1918. She was a loyal wife and for the most part, stay-at-home mom. (She did work part time when my youngest brother was in high school). She loved reading, art, and saw her role as making a warm and welcoming home for her family. When they first married she really couldn't cook. By the time I was old enough to notice those things she fixed gourmet meals along with the staples of spaghetti, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, etc. In many ways she never recovered from my dad's death (they were a few months shy of their fifty-eight's wedding anniversary and had known and dated for sixty years. Mom's health had it's ups and downs. In January 2002 she used her emergency call button, the EMT's came and she went to the Emergency Department never to return home.

She died March 04, 2002.

My brother, James Stuart Johnson, was born 10/25/1945. A few years younger than I but five years older than our youngest brother, he loved music and supported himself through college by playing in a band around campus. He "played" the steering wheel and dashboard of his car, the coffee table in front of the couch, and when he was younger my brother's and my heads. He was a lot like mom in that they could sit and talk about what people wore at various family gatherings. (If I was asked, in all seriousness I'd probably say something like "Clothes?" When my dad was ill, Jim came up from Phoenix, AZ where he lived for a few weeks to help out. He told us then he had emphysema. When mom was sick, he came up. He was on oxygen and told us (my youngest brother and me) that he had a year to live.

He died on March 26, 2004.

My Aunt Marne (Margaret Laura Rawson Gannon) was born 12/23/1919. She was 21 months or so younger than my mom. From what mom said, having a tag-a-long younger sister was a difficult and in many ways she resented having to take her younger sister with her when she went out with friends or on dates. More than once my mom warned me not to do something similar with my two granddaughters. "Let them have their own lives," she said. Marne was a military wife and as such lived in many different parts of the country. She and her Army Captain husband had six children. Her family (both her children and her siblings) were strong in her heart.

She died on March 05, 2013.

If you read my post at www.RomancingTheGenres.blogspot.com, you'll know that I have two books due out soon. Love & Magick - Mystical Stories of Romance and the first three novels in The Sacred Women's Circle series. Even though at least two of the three will be ready to publish before March 4th, 5th, 8th, or 26th, I have decided what better way to turn my month of death into a month of love.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Time Passes

Time Passes and voila!

I've spent over a year ruminating about my website and my cyber-presence. When my website was first created by Katie Bergrenn in 2006 or 2008 I thought it was fantastic and I worked hard to keep it updated.

One day I looked at it and it no longer called to me (that was in 2012). I actually deleted the link from my signature line! and no longer updated it at all.

As I've come closer to the step in my publishing journey where my books are available I once again thought about my cyber-presence. When I wrote out my 2013 Writing Goals, I wrote in "Revamp Website" which is probably why I finally acted.

I checked in with Christy Caughie at www.GildedHeartDesign.com to create book covers and a new website.

You can click www.JudithAshleyRomance.com to see both. She also updated "my look" here and on  Facebook and Google+.

Time passes and voila! Here is my New Look!