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, May 29, 2017

Sacred Women's Circles Create Sacred Space - Part One

Judith 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.

When you read this post, I’ll be in Scottsdale, AZ to attend the Desert Dreams Writer’s Conference. I’m excited to be one of the workshop presenters. “Supporting Your Writing Life: How to Find Balance Between Your “Real” Life and Your “Writing” Life” is one of my favorite workshops. I love seeing participants find ways to write without feeling guilty about what they aren’t doing. The truth is the vast majority of authors do not write full time or live a monastic life. They have day jobs, families including spouses, children, sibling and parents. And what about friends?

I’m also one of 17 authors participating in the Readers’ Day Event. Tickets maystill be available so check out this link. I’d love to see you there!!! Readers will meet each of the 17 authors in a two minute ‘speed dating’. They’ll then have the opportunity to spend thirty minutes with authors to get to know them better. Participants attending my Book Club will leave with their own sacred bundle!

And that’s a great segue into the topic of this blog:

Sacred Women’s Circle Create Sacred Space.

Pause here for a few seconds and consider the following questions:

What would it be like to be unconditionally accepted, unconditionally supported and unconditionally loved?

Would you feel safe?
Would you feel you could say anything? Talk about your innermost thoughts and feelings? Share your most intimate secrets if you wanted to?

A Sacred Women’s Circle creates the space where you are unconditionally accepted, supported and loved. You do not have to share but you can. And if you choose to share, you know with a certainty that all that you say will be held in confidence and you will not be judged.

No matter what.

In 1993 I sat for the first time in a women’s circle. And, I’ve been a part of one ever since. One person from my very first circle is in my current one. I will not prevaricate and say they’ve all been sacred women’s circles because that is not the case. I will say that my current circle is a Sacred Women’s Circle because I know that I can call on any member and she will show up however I need it to happen. And they know they can call on me.

While I’ve not shared every one of my secrets, I know I could and I’d still be accepted, supported and loved. We call ourselves The One and there are four of us. The connection is strong and even though there is, at times, an ebb and flow of physical connection, the energetic connection remains tying us together.

What would it be like if you had a Sacred Women’s Circle, a place where you were unconditionally accepted, supported and loved? Or maybe you already have such a place?

I’ve love to know more!

Please leave a comment. I do want to know what you think.


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter:@JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.


You can also find Judith on FB!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unconditional Love - Long Post

Judith 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.
You’ve heard the term “Unconditional Love”.

What exactly does that mean?

As we’ve already learned “Unconditional” means without conditions or limits. That’s fairly concrete. We can discuss what a condition or limit is but for the most part we’d more easily come to agreement on that than we would on the word “Love”.

That may sound strange coming from someone who writes romance. But the word “love” has numerous definitions in part because it is used in a variety of contexts. We talk about how much we love foods, colors, clothes, etc. We also talk about ‘love’ when speaking about pets and places. Even when we are referencing people, there is a distinction i.e. l love my family. I love my friends. I love myself. I love you (a particularly significant person such as a spouse or lover). “Love” is one of those words that has gained such popularity that it is important for each of us to understand how we are using it.

Why? Because “Love” is a word that describes an emotional connection to something or someone.

In my work as Senior Faculty for The William Glasser Institute we teach that relationships are at the heart of problems—that if we all got along better (think unconditional acceptance and unconditional support) our world and the world around us would be a more peaceful place. (And Peaceful is not necessarily boring).

We also teach that when we use words like “love” each of us has our own individual picture or perception of what that would look like, what our personal manifestation of that word would be in our own life.

So keep that in mind as you consider Unconditional Love.

When two people say theyunconditionally love’ each other that does mean that they accept each other as they are. They do not enter the relationship wanting the other person to change. They want what is best for the other party without dictating what that “best” is.

The hardest part of that last paragraph comes when we see someone we love doing something we just Know will end in pain or disaster or both. Many of us have a strong “fix it” trait and it is hard to step back.

One thing I’ve found that helps me is to remember they are living their own lives, this is their path and there is something they need to learn or experience which is why whatever it is is happening to them at this point in time. Sometimes we have to experience the same situation more than once before we figure things out and sometimes we never to figure it out. When we try to ‘fix it’ for someone else, we take their power away from then and what’s worse, if it doesn’t work out, it is our fault.

Knowing yourself, your boundaries, having the wherewithal and skill to set and hold them without hostility is key to continuing to love someone and yet not approve of everything they choose to do. If you ever hear the words “If you loved me, you would …” come out of your mouth or said to you, you know you do not or are not Unconditionally Loved. This is also true if you just think them about another person.

Again, Dr. Glasser spoke and wrote about healthy boundaries. A core principle in Choice Theory is that our choices do not harm another person. However, you can accept, support and love someone and still say “no”.

Here is an example: You have a family member or friend who has addiction problems. It is not mean to say to that person, “You are always welcome in my home when you are clean and sober.” Sometimes you need to complete the thought with “You are not welcome when you are drunk or stoned.” Of course, if you are spewing angry energy into each word—

From my point of view, one of the most difficult tasks facing us on our life journey is to know ourselves and our needs, to set clear boundaries to protect ourselves and to keep them. Sacrificing ourselves in the name of ‘love’ is not – again from my perspective – loving. Enabling a people to continue to abuse themselves, others or you, is not loving.

Diana Pettybone finally faces the reality of her abusive marriage. And, it only gets worse. The emotional and verbal abuse escalates to physical. Her circle sisters support her in leaving her marriage and protecting her from further abuse. They do not support her when she wavers and considers returning to him. However, they only ask her questions to help her think things through e.g. “Why do you think he’s changed?” “What do you see him doing different?” “Why is it important to you what other people think?”

Each of the heroines in The Sacred Women’s Circle series faces a critical time when they must take the leap toward what they want, leaving behind what they’ve had, the safety of the known for the possible glory of their happily-ever-after. They make that decision knowing that regardless of their choice, they will continue to have the acceptance, support and love of their circle sisters.

If you look at one of the dictionary definitions of love “unselfish, loyal, benevolent concern for others”, supporting someone in abusing themselves or others (including us) is certainly not love.

Some of this is not easy to do. And, having said that, consider this:

What would your life be like if you were Unconditionally Loved and Loved Unconditionally?

Please leave a comment. I do want to know what you think.


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter:@JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.


You can also find Judith on FB!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Unconditional Support


Judith 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.
Unconditional Support is another foundational building block for a healthy relationship and in creating a sacred women’s circle. Again “unconditional” means without limits or strings. There are supports in physical structures that allow them to stand. If you watch programs on the Home and Garden Network (HGTV) you hear the term “supporting wall” which means that wall is helping to keep the house intact and without it, the house will cave in.
There is also financial support, technical support and emotional support to name a few.
Gimi, Lois, Connie = Unconditional Support
Parents support their children into adulthood.
Companies support their customers—and if they do a good job, their customers will come back time and time again.
People support causes and organizations that they believe in both through donations and volunteering.
One of the caveats in a sacred women’s circle is that when the talking stone (or in some traditions the talking stick) is passed around, the other members hold their silence. They listen but unless asked or given permission, do not speak up.
From my perspective that is a gift. To be able to talk, to speak one’s mind, to bare one’s soul in a place of unconditional acceptance and support is healing. Sometimes all we need to do is say the words out loud and we will see our own answers or we will feel better.
There comes a time in each of my books when the heroine receives the unconditional support of her circle sisters. One type of unconditional support comes in the form of “hovering” but the other more integral form is the knowledge that the other women are there. All it will take is a call, a reaching out and everyone will show up.

When Lily is in a disabling accident, The Circle rallies around making sure she and her home are taken care of.

When Elizabeth cannot see her way through her dilemma, The Circle rallies and assists her in finding her path so she can have Michael in Ireland and still belong to The Circle in Fremont.

When Diana dithers about divorcing her abusive husband and accepting the help and protection of Mathew, it is The Circle that shelters her and supports her until she sees her way clear.

When Ashley and her children are abandoned when she is dealing with recurrent breast cancer, again, The Circle and “the second string” step in.

When Hunter’s daughter, Logan, runs away, The Circle rallies around the distraught single mom, searches for the lost daughter and vets the newly discovered father.

When Gabriella’s efforts to heal from an abusive childhood are thwarted, The Circle is there offering unconditional love and support.

When Sophia’s fear of a future with Cam is exacerbated because of the death of her first husband, The Circle listens and shares perspectives that help her see a life with him.

In unconditionally supportive relationships, when we speak up and ask for what we need, if it is within the power of the others we are given it. Of course, as you will see when you read my books, sometimes the asking is the most difficult part of being in a relationship where there is Unconditional Support.

Where in your life do you receive Unconditional Support?

And if that isn’t present in your life, what would your life be life if it was?

Please leave a comment. I’m very interested in your perspective even if you disagree.


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.


You can also find Judith on FB!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Unconditional Acceptance

Judith 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.

I hope you enjoyed last Monday’s post on Beltane. Now that we are a little further along in the month of May and a little further along the Wheel of the Year, I want to share some thoughts on Unconditional Acceptance.

Simply put ‘unconditional’ means without conditions or not limited in any way.

Acceptance means the act of accepting; the state of being accepted or acceptable. And ‘accept’ is defined as “to receive willingly”

How does that translate when considering the topic Unconditional Acceptance in relationships?

In a relationship we understand that the other people are doing the best they can under the circumstances, given their skill set, objectives, etc.

Unconditional Acceptance does not necessarily mean unconditional approval. Those are two different concepts.

I can understand and accept decisions others make without approving of them or supporting them.

When raising children, parents often build “approval” into the mix which means the children may not believe or feel they are accepted. They feel different from the rest of the family, disengaged or even an outcast.

Acceptance of another person as she or he is, without conditions, without limits is a gift. And, depending on our own values and upbringing, it isn’t necessarily easy—but it is necessary to a healthy and functioning relationship.

It is possible to accept a person “warts and all” and still have boundaries in terms of the relationship. Not necessarily easy.

You can accept a family member or friend who has an addiction problem and also have the boundary that you will not spend time with them if they are under the influence.

When Sophia Stewart sends out her flyer inviting women to her house to form a sacred women’s circle, there were more than double the number who remained forty-five days later.

The six women who continued to come and who are the heroines in the series came to the first meeting open to a new experience, open to looking at the world from a slightly or even very different point of view. They were willing to listen, to learn, to participate with an open mind.

They created their sacred women’s circle from that initial unconditional acceptance. They created spiritual practices individually and together. They created a haven where they each had the safety and freedom to express themselves through prayer and practice knowing they were unconditionally accepted by the others.

Where in your life are you unconditionally accepted?


Please leave a comment. I’m very interested in your perspective even if you disagree. 



Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.

Follow Judith on Twitter:@JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.


You can also find Judith on FB!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beltane

Judith 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.

May 01, 2017 - Beltane

Today marks another turn in the Wheel of the Year.

Beltane is on the opposite side of the year from Samhain. These two Holy Days have much in common. The time when the veils between the worlds are the thinnest. The time that symbolizes the end of Winter and the beginning of Summer.

When I was growing up, I remember in elementary school we danced around the May Pole, weaving brightly colored, intricate patterns with long ribbons of varying colors. And, we made May Baskets, filled them with flowers and hung them on the doorknobs of neighbor’s homes.

From this vantage point, I’m fairly sure that, at the time, people did not connect these spring activities as pagan or even coming from pagan traditions. They were fun activities that herald spring’s flowers and warmer days and were a continuation of what had been done for generations before ours.

Beltane is also about fertility. At that point in our history when we were hunter/gatherers and then farmers, we relied on our understanding of the seasons to survive.

In our modern times, we can still use Beltane to stoke the fires of our fertile imagination, our creativity. I write. I’ve friends who bead, paint and sew. Other people I know create in other ways. Following the traditions of earth-based spirituality, the winter when it is dark and cold is the time for reflection. When the sun comes out and it is warmer, it is now time to create or to manifest the seeds we sowed in the dark.

My creative juices have begun to flow again as I write new words and continue to refine my Readers’ DayBook Club event during the Desert Dreams Readers’ Day in Scottsdale, AZ on June3rd

If you are in the area, plan on spending the day with authors. I’d love to meet you and have you join me to learn more about sacred space and the spiritual foundation of my Sacred Women’ Circle series.
Now that the days are longer, what is it that you want to manifest from your reflections during the dark days?

Sign up for Connections, my newsletter, and download a free e-copy of Lily.

Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.
Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB!


Monday, April 24, 2017

My Favorite Family and Friends!



Judith 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.

I've been bless to have a circle of good friends. Here I am with a few of them!
Judith with Gimi and Connie. We talk each week and support each other in manifesting our Intentions
Diana McCollum, Sarah Raplee and Judith: co authors of Love and Magick
Lois is my First Reader



My neighbor, Juanita, is a passionate volunteer with at risk youth
Judith with some of her Glasser Family

Something else that brings me joy are children. I worked in domestic and international adoption for a few months shy of 30 years. I also was a child protective service worker, an immensely gratifying position. In particular I take great pleasure engaging with little ones in the grocery store checkout line.
Colleagues from my child welfare days. Gabriella is dedicated to them.
When I was in the 8th grade I had a pen pal in Japan. We shared our hopes and dreams for our futures. (Remember this was in the mid-1950’s so my dreams were limited to wife/mother, nurse, teacher or secretary). I came across one of my letters (I always copied what I wrote her) a few years back. There it was in black and white albeit somewhat faded. I wanted to have 9 children (8 boys and 1 girl)!!! I even had names for everyone!!!
Judith with her granddaughters at her youngest's 8th grade promotion!

Judith, both her granddaughters and her great granddaughter

The Universe was merciful and I had one child, my son. He had two daughters, my granddaughters. The youngest granddaughter has two children—almost two and newborn.

Where I am in my life now, I remain grateful that I only had one child. Raising him as a single mom had its challenges. I won’t bore you with the details suffice it to say I have great respect for single moms everywhere. In fact, Hunter is dedicated to single mothers!!!


Also Lily is a single parents. And, even though Diana and Ashley are married, their husbands are not involved fathers.

Which is worse, knowing you are a single parent or parenting alone because your husband, the father of your children is emotionally and often physically absent?


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on her website.
Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB!

© 2017 Judith Ashley

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Favorite Creative, Relaxing, Inspiring Things!


Judith 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.
If you were to visit my house you’d see a plethora of snowy owls, dragons and crystals. I’ve a dragon on my front porch. Two of them sit on my altar across from the front door. They are perched on shelves throughout the house.

Years ago I read a book that shared a meditation and other inner work to sense the energy of our house.

What came to me was “dragon”. When you read Lily, you’ll see that she has that sense of place, the energy that resides and protects the land and the house. If you look closely at the cover to the right, you'll see the faint outline of a dragon in the upper left hand corner. The subtitle of Lily is The Dragon and The Great Horned Owl.

Early on in the first women’s circle I belonged to, we did an exercise to identify our own personal totems. You might guess mine is the snowy owl. I am blessed with a double totem – the snowy owl and snake. Snake is about transformation. You can read about my childhood experience with snake to see why that totem is not as visible as the snowy owl. I do have two snake totems on altars in my house and may add to that — or not.

Crystals? They are everywhere!!!

They are part of my author brand, my logo, my giveaways, my teaching. Crystals are about clarity.


As I write this I have within my vision 5 crystals, 1 rose quartz crystal and if I turn my head to the right another crystal and selenite lamp appear. To the left 8 smaller crystals as well as 1 each of rose and lavender quartz.

Behind me are several more (5 to be exact, I just got up and counted). Obviously I need clarity when I’m writing!!!

What do you surround yourself with when you are being creative or just want to relax and be?


Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on her website.
Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB!

© 2017 Judith Ashley

Monday, April 10, 2017

My Favorite Pastimes!

Judith 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.
Favorite pastimes include reading and writing. As you know I’ve published all seven of the original Sacred Women’s Circle series. I’ve written the prequels to a few of those books but still have a few to go. There is something mystical and magical about sitting in front of my computer, my hands on the keyboard, my fingers poised with my eyes on the screen waiting for the words to appear. That is how those seven novels were written—at least the first draft.

I’ve several friends who are plotters. They map out the story at least in an outline format if not in great detail. All research is done upfront. Before they take to the keyboard, they know where they are, where they are going and how they are going to get there. And they write stories that are a joy to read.

As a more ‘organic’ author, I know where I’m starting and I know where I’m ending. I may have (well, usually do) a clear picture of one or maybe two scenes.

The rest of the canvas is blank.

However, once I start, the story just rolls forth. I have vivid dreams, hear voices in my head and then I sit at my computer and let the story unfold. I recall times when my eyebrows arched as words popped up on the screen almost unbidden. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve shuddered as my fingers tell the story that comes from an unconscious source.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been doing more reading than usual (because I’m not writing stories right now). I’ve reread all of Jo Beverley’s books. I’ve read all of Stephanie Lauren’s Bastion Club series and I’m working through the Cynster novels.

At this stage in my own writing career, I see rereading these books as ‘homework’ or ‘educational’ because I remember the story line (for the most part). I’m seeing more how Beverley and Lauren set scenes, show emotions, use characters from previous books in the series in the current one. I’ve also read several Grace Burrows’s historical novels. And, of course, I've some favorite Nora Roberts novels. Some new, some for a second time. Check out my Romancing The Genre's post to learn about one of my favorite Jennifer Ashley stories.

No matter who's book I pick up, I always to learn more about the craft from authors whose work I enjoy.

The month of March was full of non-writing activities: taxes, organizing my intellectual property, keeping up with family and friends and, when my energy slumped, reading.

Writing this post on March 28, I know April is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to getting back to the writing!

What are some of your favorite pastimes?



Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on her website.
Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.
You can also find Judith on FB!

© 2017 Judith Ashley

Monday, April 3, 2017

My Favorite Thing About Spring!


Judith 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.
You may not have noticed but I choose a theme for my monthly blog posts. Last month I posted on the change in seasons or the turning of the wheel of the year to spring. This month I’m sharing a few of my favorite things.

One of the joys in my life is watching the change in the seasons from my office window. Even though my yard is mainly low maintenance, I do get my share of birds including hummingbirds when my Armistad salvia, geraniums and fuchsia are in bloom.

Note gnarly, rough textures.
Starting to needle out - so soft!
Currently I’m engaged in watching my dwarf Diana larch come back. Larch are needled but they drop their needles in the fall. Winter finds their gnarly branches framed against the snowy landscape or the grey sky. This time of year, the needles grow back. As far as I know it is the only needled tree that is not an ‘evergreen’. This winter I lost a couple of branches so my original plan to “raise” the tree (prune the lower branches) has been postponed.

The honeysuckle that I planted over forty years ago is still going strong. It does need to be heavily pruned back (missed my chance during the winter because of the snows, etc.) because it is going to grow into the siding on the house. Not a good thing.

Along my driveway I have a planting bed with one of my favorite flowers—clematis. This year the two plants are thriving even with the harsh winter! New growth appears to be leaping into the world—an inch or two or more each day.

Oh, and I didn’t mention my Daphne. The short trip to my front door is wrapped in the fragrance of Daphne Odora.

There is much more I could include. Violets, hyacinths in the spring, fuchsia, geraniums in the summer and salvia in the fall. Seeing the seasons change through the flowers in my yard, the birds (robins are already here as are the scrub jays) and other critters. Sighted a raccoon yesterday morning. (It is mating season for them so they are out and about day or night and more aggressive than usual). My yard is regularly visited by flickers, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. And the occasional peregrine falcon or bald eagle can be sighted floating overhead looking for a tasty unsuspecting treat.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe I live in the middle of the city! Oh, and coyotes are sighted every now and then. Not sure we’ll see them so often if the chickens across the street are moved.

Sophia reflects my love of the land, the tracking of the seasons through my yard.


What is your favorite thing about Spring?

Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on her website.
Follow Judith on Twitter: @JudithAshley19
Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.
You can also find Judith on FB!

© 2017 Judith Ashley