11/18 – Jan’s Paperbacks Book Signing – 11 – 2 p.m. One free Sacred Bundle kit with every purchase!

11/29 – All day Facebook Event with Arte Soleil.

12/02 – Author Event at Arte Soleil. Details forthcoming.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Romance and Research

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

Research has shown that we learn best when we are entertained. And the best romance authors do their research so you learn something as you go on a journey with their characters. And the best romances, IMHO, are those that play over and over in our minds long after we’ve closed the book which means those well researched details become a part of our general knowledge.

I love to read historical romance and have learned much more about living in those faraway times. Most recently I read all of 
Jo Beverley’s Malloren World books set in the 1760’s. She showed the glamour and glitz of the aristocracy but she also showed the depths of despair, the plight of women and children, the filth and disease of the greatest city of its time. In the last book I read, she included information about the water system in London at the time of A Scandalous Countess.

Several of the Genre-istas write in another time period. Paty Jager, Kristin Holt, Lynn Lovegreen, Maeve Greyson all work to make sure their readers understand the time period and thus the life style of their characters. Genre-istas who write in various genres also pay attention to the research needed to bring their stories to life.

But what about Contemporary Romance Writers? Do they have to do research? Do they build worlds? Do they have well-honed imaginations?

Since I am a Contemporary Romance Write, I’ll answer that with “yes”!

Research? For Lily, I spent time talking with my physical therapist to make sure I had the right timing for Lily Hughes recovery from a devastating accident. And, I set up the fictional Fremont, Oregon (based in part on my home town of Portland). Why didn’t I use Portland? Because I wanted the freedom to have a doctor’s office, a restaurant, etc. where it worked best for the story and not where one actually was.

For Elizabeth, I not only refreshed my memories of my trip to Ireland by reading my journal and looking through albums of pictures, but I also talked to my friend with whom I journeyed. And I used Google Earth to check out New Grange as we hadn’t gone there. I looked at the countryside to determine where to site Michael Murphy’s fictional home and The Sacred Grove.

Most recently, for Gabriella, I spent more time on Google Earth figuring out where Giovanni Migliori’s villa might be on the West Coast of Italy overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I also researched Sacred Geometry before deciding to show Sacred Geometry in nature with references to it also being man-made. I wanted to give my readers a sense of the power of Sacred Geometry without overwhelming them.

Sophia, Book Seven, involves a police officer and a teacher. I both worked for a sheriff’s department and taught high school English. And since Sophia has been a main character throughout the series, her dedication to her students, her garden and the other women was already well known. I’ve even been concussed! But, I’ve never been shot!!! So that required some investigating in order to make my hero, Cam Mitchell’s, predicament real.

But here’s where the research butts up against our characters. Not everyone in contemporary times is glued to a cell phone or spends hours on the internet, etc. So when my editor commented on Diana “That’s not real, she should just dial 911 on her cell phone.” I took a look at how I use technology in my stories.

It’s there.

Not as much in the first books set in 2001 – 2002 but by Sophia set in 2005 - 2006 it is more evident.

Believe it or not, to this day I have friends and family who do not have cell phones or do not keep them on. And, I have friends and family who are well-connected. I, for one, have not been to a movie theater for decades and I seldom watch movies on television and although I’ve heard of streaming, I’ve no idea how to do it.

What does this have to do with anything?

A well-written romance (or any story) will draw you in. The characters will make sense to you as will their decisions. After that comment from my editor, I went back and inserted a few sentences here and there to show the reader that while my character knew about and had a cell phone, she (in this case) was not wired 24/7.

What’s important is that the technology is congruent with who the character is as a person and within the context of the story.

What are your thoughts on author’s research? Have you ever read a book and known some fact was inaccurate at best and Wrong at worst? What did you do?

For a Free digital copy of Lily sign up for Connections, my newsletter. You’ll be the first to know about upcoming releases and the first to know about specials, contests and appearances.

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, February 20, 2017

Romance - A Story for Everyone



Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

I’m writing this post earlier in the month, to be precise almost two weeks before you will see it. At Romancing The Genre, the Genre-istas are sharing “My Most Romantic … ?” and if you start at the beginning of the month with Robin Weaver’s “The Most Romantic Potato” and read through each post until here, you’ll find a wide array of interpretations of the suggested topic.

I talk about “heat levels” in my books, Paty Jager shares the little things that have kept her 38 years of marriage strong and Kristin Wallace includes an excerpt from her soon-to-be released Shellwater Key tale.

One of the things I love about writing and reading romance is there is a story for just about everyone.

If you’ve an interest in history, here are historical romances set in Medieval, Renaissance, Middle Ages, Regency, Victorian, American West --- you name the era and there is, most likely a romantic story set then.

Science? What about scifi? Remember, the science fiction of last century is becoming our reality today.

Suspense? Thrillers? Yes, there are authors who write romantic suspense and thrillers.

And then there are the ones who have fantastic imaginations! They are the writers of fantasy and paranormal romance. The good ones make sure the world they’ve created is sustained through all of the stories set in that place and time.

What I love about Romancing The Genres is our diversity. You can find just about any kind of romance you are interested in here. If you don’t have the time or inclination to check us out every day, you can check our Genre-ista page and scroll down to see who’s who and what we write.

Not only can romances be set in any era, they can take place at any time of the day or night and in any known or unknown country or galaxy.

To me, a good romance touches my heart and leaves me with a sense of satisfaction, even a smile on my lips as I envision the characters I’ve fallen in love with enjoying their future together.

Of course my goal is that when you read my books, you have those same feelings!

For a Free digital copy of Lily sign up for Connections, my newsletter. You’ll be the first to know about upcoming releases and the first to know about specials, contests and appearances.

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, February 13, 2017

Love Is More Than A Feeling

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.

I write romance—a blessing, a gift, a way to balance my life because for over fifty years I worked as a private guardian and geriatric care manager and/or in child welfare and/or in an emergency after hour’s capacity for vulnerable adults. My professional life has shown me all too clearly that there can be a gigantic disconnect between the words “I love you” and the actions we’d expect from someone who truly does love us. I am consciously choosing not to site numerous examples but I do invite you to think about where you may have experienced or born witness to that disconnect.

Because of my professional (and some personal) experiences, I know love is more than a feeling. We tell others “I love you”. We hear “I love you, too” said back. At times someone may say “I love you” first and we repeat back that we love that person “too”.

In my short story “Is He The One?” available through Windtree Press’s anthology, Gifts of the Heart, my heroine, Sophia Denton uses Dr. William Glasser’s Basic Psychological Needs to sort through her feelings and find the answer to Jonathan’s proposal. She readily acknowledges they love each other (the feeling). 

Her question is: Is that enough? While she herself has not been abused, she is aware of the issue of domestic violence and child abuse. Committed to doing her very best not to get caught in that “but I love him” trap, she decides to delve deeper into the conundrum of love, to determine for herself if there is a disconnect between how she and Jonathan ‘feel’ about each other and how they treat each other.

Dr. Glasser talked and wrote about the importance of loving relationships in our lives. He also talked and wrote about the reality that the only person whose behavior we have control over is our own.

It is a myth to think that we really can “make” someone do something. There are people every day who literally die for their beliefs and that has been true throughout history. It is at times convenient to say “I couldn’t help it” or “S/he made me”. When I hear those words, I know that isn’t actually true. The truth is more along the line of “I didn’t know how to say “no” because s/he is bigger than I am (or has more power as in could fire me, etc.) or it is easier to go along than to stand up for my beliefs or s/he might not like me anymore (in some circumstances we call that peer pressure).

From my perspective relationship problems occur because someone is trying to make the other(s) do something different. And in an effort to be successful, they use one of Dr. Glasser’s Seven Deadly Habits. (You can read more about The Deadlies here).

Here are 4 questions that may assist you in creating happier, healthier and more loving 
relationships in your life.

1. Looking at your most important relationships and using a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high/good and 1 low/bad, how congruent are the words and actions of the people you love towards you?

2. Looking at your most important relationships and using a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high/good and l1 low/bad, how congruent are Your Words and Actions towards the people in your life you love?

3. When you look at the disconnect, what are the others attempting to get or accomplish with their behavior?

4. What are you trying to get or accomplish in those relationships where there is a disconnect?

Please share your thoughts and ask questions! I’ll do my best to expand on Dr. Glasser’s concepts in my answers.


In addition to writing romance, Judith is on the Senior Teaching Faculty of William Glasser International. Learn more about her workwith Dr. Glasser’s concepts including her training schedule and/or check out The William Glasser Institute for more information on training and educational opportunities worldwide.

Sign up for Connections, my newsletter and receive a free digital copy of Lily, Book One in The Sacred Women's Circle series. For a limited time you can still buy a copy of Elizabeth, Book Two, for $.99.


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, February 6, 2017

What Is This Thing Called "Love"?

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

I picked “love” and it’s off-shoot “romance” as my theme for February.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “love” (n) as strong affection; warm attachment as in love of the sea; strong sexual attraction; a beloved person; and unselfish benevolent concern for others.

As a verb? CHERISH; To Feel a Passion, Devotion or Tenderness for; CARESS; to take pleasure in. (The Caps are theirs).

As an author of romance novels (The Sacred Women’s Circle series), I immerse myself in the finer points of love whenever I write. It is a joy and at times a burden. Why?

Authors are told to never disappoint their readers. And that readers come to expect certain types of stories from an author. So, how to write the story and not disappoint the reader?

I’m not sure I know the answer to that. My goal has become to tell the story that needs to be told through these characters and hope for the best.

Since my books all feature a romance, I’m also to hold to a certain “heat” level. How many love scenes? How explicit? Etc.

I will admit I’ve failed on that account also.

In terms of sex scenes, Elizabeth has the most in number. And to begin with they are more sex scenes as she throws constraints and caution away and embarks on an adventure in Ireland. After all, no one knows her, so why not?

Lily and Diana must overcome the effects of domestic violence and, in Diana’s case, serial infidelity before they can trust enough to allow another man into their lives.

But then we come to Ashley. Ashley is battling recurrent breast cancer. Is she likely to hop into bed when she’s sick from chemo and worry? But there it is. Still a love story.

Hunter is another book where the love scenes are lacking although to be honest, her daughter is drugged and rape.

Gabriella’s sense of self-worth and distrust of men must be overcome before she can ever open her heart to the man who’s waited for her since the first book in the series. Spoiler alert! She does fight her way to healing and love (and there are love scenes).

And last but not least Sophia. How does a widow, who is committed to life fall in love with a divorced jaded police officer? Obviously she does but as they are in their mid to late forties, is their journey any different than that of the younger women?

So readers will find heat levels from sweet to heat but no erotica.

Readers will find continuing characters through all Seven Stories. After all the seven of them do belong to The Circle. And The Circle ties them together. No matter what happens they learn and then grow to know with a certainty that together they can conquer all.

I’m blessed to have been in a sacred women’s circle for over twenty years and that experience has made a significant difference in my life.

Who is your “circle”?

For a free digital copy of Lily, sign up for Connections! 



You can learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.
Follow me on Twitter: @JudithAshley19
I’m also on Facebook

© 2017 Judith Ashley