Kristen Ashley's Blog

October 10, 2016

In my continuing saga of awesomeness you can find out there that I recommend you to read, I’m going to tell you about a gem that I again saw touted on Twitter and took a chance on.

Now, just to recap: I’ve recommended Johanna Lindsey’s WARRIOR’S WOMAN, anything by Judith McNaught (but I talked about my first McNaught, ALMOST HEAVEN, in the blog) and the brilliant (each and every one of them) anthology of novellas and short stories, THE DEVIL’S DOORBELL.

Now, I’ll share about the incredibly talented Joey W. Hill’s NATURAL LAW.

When going into Joey’s NATURAL LAW, I wasn’t an erotica or BDSM erotica virgin. Though I can say I only dabbled (I think that I’d only read two and a half novellas, and that was years ago).

I didn’t avoid erotica. Far from it. But back in the day when I was reading romance, it wasn’t easily accessible. And when I’d found a place to access good erotica, I was writing like crazy so I wasn’t reading as much.

So although I wasn’t an erotica virgin, Joey certainly deflowered a variety of aspects of the reader that is me.

And fate can hold great fortunes.

In other words, finding Joey and finding her through NATURAL LAW was sheer bounty.

I get tongue-tied (or more aptly for this blog post, finger-tied) trying to figure out how best to explain all that Joey gave to me through this story without babbling in my gushing compliments.

I’ll start by saying she’s an exceptional writer. A wordsmith of the highest caliber. So talented, it’s a little scary and fills me with the good kind of envy. I’ve gone on to read the next two in Joey’s Nature of Desire series, ICE QUEEN and MIRROR OF MY SOUL, and discovered that NATURAL LAW was no fluke. Both, too, are outstandingly good.

That said, however, what I’ll concentrate on is just how very safe I felt in Joey’s writing embrace.

Now, this book is a BDSM with an alpha-sub and Joey doesn’t pull any punches. She gives it to us. And even things that might have made me turn the page hesitantly, I didn’t. I was in her care. I was safe in the cocoon of her talent.

Sex is an intimate thing, personal, emotional, physical. Even if you’re just reading about it, you (should) feel all those experiences. And it’s my opinion that every writer needs to handle that with care.

However, Joey takes it one step further, not only sweeping you along in the beautiful narrative of her stories, but also holding you close and nurturing you along the path as she tells them.

I had thought, as a novice erotica reader, I noted this as special for me due to my inexperience with the genre. But I have shouted out about Joey’s talent and no one who has read her disagrees. They were all as equally enthralled by her gifts as me. So it wasn’t my inexperience. It was Joey’s storytelling.

Now, I’ve told this story before but I’ll tell it again.

Way back in the day when I was writing WILDEST DREAMS, I had a very sexy scene in that book between Valentine and her boy toy. I deleted it because I feared my readers would be shocked at something that was not what was expected of me.

But that scene, and Valentine, held on. Therefore, when I wrote BROKEN DOVE, I actually wrote a companion piece that I’d intended to release alongside BROKEN DOVE. This I intended to do so for those who wanted an erotic, BDSM, alpha-sub love story to read alongside Apollo and Maddie’s story, they could have it. Those who had no interest in that could stick with BD.

It was taking too long to finish both books so I scrapped Valentine but always wished I hadn’t. She, and that genre of story, kept calling out to me.

After reading Joey’s NATURAL LAW, a book I fell into and couldn’t put down, I spent an entire day, an…entire…day, doing nothing but sitting around my house, staring into space and concocting what would be my upcoming THE DEEP END, the start of The Honey Series, an erotic BDSM series about alpha-submissives.

I’ll say here that I also hope one day to spruce up Valentine’s story and give it to my readers as a long novella.

And I’ll say that the two stories I’ve already written in the Honey series, THE DEEP END and THE FARTHEST EDGE are amazing. I adore them. I am very aware that some of my readers will shy away and I totally understand that. But I loved, loved, loved FINALLY allowing myself the freedom to tell the stories I’ve been wanting to tell for years. To put my voice into telling this kind of tale. To dip my toe in a new pool. To expand my horizons. To dig deeper into souls. To share new and exciting worlds.

And truthfully, I believe I would never have had the courage to write those books if it weren’t for Joey.

So not only do I have her amazing writing to enjoy (and I will continue to do so), I also have her to thank for that. And it’s heartfelt thanks indeed.

To end, I wholeheartedly recommend NATURAL LAW (as well as ICE QUEEN and MIRROR OF MY SOUL).

And I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
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Published on October 10, 2016 09:45 • 6,452 views • Tags: joey-w-hill, kristen-ashley

October 3, 2016

This is part three of my blog series in answer to all the questions I get about what I would recommend for folks to read.

The last two blogs I wrote were about vintage books I fell in love with back in the day (Johanna Lindsey’s WARRIOR’S WOMAN and Judith McNaught’s ALMOST HEAVEN, and everything else she’s written).

This time, I’m going to share something contemporary. Something I discovered not too long ago that I fell into and adored.

You see, until I started publishing, I’d never heard of the novella concept. And short stories weren’t something I dove into very often either (that said, another quick recommendation, COWBOYS ARE MY WEAKNESS by Pam Houston is superb).

But now my life has changed. I don’t have time to read a lot and I’m one of those obsessive readers. If I find I’m going to like a book, unless I know I can put my life on hold for that book for the day or two (or whatever) it takes to consume it, I put it down. And often, sadly, don’t find time to pick it back up again. This, I’m determined to change because I miss reading like the dickens.

However, recently, when I became aware of the brilliance of the 1,001 Dark Nights concept, and agreed to do a story for them, I started to check out this novella idea more thoroughly.

So when I saw a recommendation on Twitter for Megan Hart’s story in an anthology called THE DEVIL’S DOORBELL, I bought it. I’d been wanting to read something of Megan’s for some time, and when I saw she’d written a novella for this anthology, I thought it was just the ticket.

I devoured Megan’s story first, DROWNING ON DRY LAND. And yes, “devoured” is the word. It’s dark. It’s edgy. It’s sexy as hell. And it ain’t your momma’s romance novella.

I loved it. Every word. The chances Megan took with this story. The honesty she shares with us through it.

But I was terrified of trying the other stories in THE DEVIL’S DOORBELL because, once you get something that good, how can the others measure up?

I took a shot and read Anne Calhoun’s IN THE GARDEN. Definitely sweeter, no less sexy, decadent, but also promising and beautiful. The feel of the story was so exquisitely different than DROWNING ON DRY LAND, I was suddenly voracious for all the different experiences this anthology would give me. Not just different stories and different voices – because you’re going to get that in an anthology no matter what – EXPERIENCES. Falling into these beautifully-crafted tales and allowing them to take over my world for perfect snippets of time.

So I then read EXACT WARM UNHOLY by Jeffe Kennedy. And I was again stunned. Stunned by the originality of the concept of this story. Stunned by the emotions it made me experience in such a short expanse of time. Stunned by the beauty of the romance in it that ran parallel to the overwhelming sadness throughout. I mean, seriously. If you don’t fall in love with Peter, you have a heart of stone.

There was no stopping me then (though, sadly, life was such that I had to put it down and come back to it, but the minute I could, I did) and with no further hesitation happily guzzled up Delphine Dryden’s RED LEATHER (a short story, not a novella), DEVIL IN THE DARK by Christine d’Abo (another short story, illicit, steamy, and [spoiler!] I hope to God Shona went back and got more of Kevin), Megan Mulry’s LONDON CALLING (my first f/f, and the perfect introduction to this, I loved Lana, I loved her humor, and as someone who lived in England, I loved the feel of again being an American in that different land, but I have to say of all this goodness, Cybelle was DIVINE) and last WE ARE ALL FOUND THINGS by M. O’Keefe.

Although all the stories deserve many, many words in this blog, hell, they each deserve their own blog, because they were wonderful, well-written, beautifully-conceived, intensely gratifying, I’ll share a few more words about WE ARE ALL FOUND THINGS because I fell so deeply in love with Luka. In fact, I started reading this at the tail end of a plane ride, and after the first chapter, I put it down and said to my sister, “Nope. Not gonna finish that until I’m alone with a glass of wine in my reading chair and I have all my attention devoted to it.”

I wasn’t wrong to make this decision. It was worth all my attention (and just saying, man oh man, I wish I’d come up with the gorgeous concept of “found things”).

Like all of them, in its unique way, it was a beautiful story that was a gift to read.

Now, I’ll make an important note here that this anthology wasn’t just about reading really good stories. The underlying theme (outside, what, precisely, “the devil’s doorbell relates to) is all about the heroines. In each story, it isn’t about a woman finding something because she found a man. In each story, it’s about a woman finding something in herself, giving herself something she needs, finding her way past a stumble in life that gives you way more than skinned knees. These women are powerful, even if they discover that power during the story, and reading these women’s stories, being along for the ride at that part of their journeys, well…wow. Just that.


I could make particular note of this facet of all of them, but for sake of time, I’ll just wax poetic about what Delphine Dryden was able to do in one chapter in RED LEATHER. We women have so many expectations. So many things other people expect of us that hold us back from buying those garnet leather boots. It was a shock to the system (in a GOOD way) that Delphine was able to share so fully how Maggie shirked off those expectations and decided to start expecting things FOR HERSELF, all in one chapter. I adored it.

Now, I had someone say to me once they didn’t do novellas or short stories because they don’t like the short length.

However, as a reader and a writer, there’s something extraordinary about an artist’s ability to give us something so completely satisfying as these stories in the expanse of only a few chapters (and in two cases, RED LEATHER and DEVIL IN THE DARK, only one chapter). It’s a challenge for a writer for certain. But as a new reader of this type of tale, knowing I have the choice to partake in something that I can take in in a short span of time, experience it in its flawless entirety and come away with that gorged feeling of contentment normally a full-length novel would give me is a godsend.

Because sometimes, as a romance reader, but in the instance of this anthology, a sister rooting for the sisterhood, I need that quick injection of loveliness delivered by a talented hand.

Then again, don’t we all?
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Published on October 03, 2016 14:30 • 5,031 views • Tags: anne-calhoun, christine-d-abo, delphine-dryden, jeffe-kennedy, kristen-ashley, m-o-keefe, megan-hart, megan-mulry

September 27, 2016

This is part two of my blog series in answer to all the questions I get about what I would recommend for folks to read.

Okay, I’m blogging about it rather than listing them out because it’s not about answering the questions, it’s about having the opportunity to gush about the books.

Now, in an earlier blog, my first recommendation was vintage Johanna Lindsey, WARRIOR’S WOMAN.

That book hit me first because it was such a hugely pleasant surprise, something so different to devour in that time, a sci-fi, space-age romance that kicked ass.

But as many of you who know me know, it’s Judith McNaught’s stories that will always and forever own my heart.

Although I could wax poetic about every one of her books, particularly KINGDOM OF DREAMS, SOMETHING WONDERFUL, ONCE AND ALWAYS (all historicals) and PARADISE (a contemporary – though don’t count out DOUBLE STANDARDS, one of her first and a tremendously good one), for the sake of this blog not being a tome, I’ll focus on my introduction to Ms. McNaught.

I first discovered Judith McNaught when I found ALMOST HEAVEN. I’d been reading romance for years when I stumbled on to this book and it wasn’t one of Ms. McNaught’s early novels so I don’t know how I was missing out on her.

I just know, as a romance reader, it rocked my world. And as a wannabe writer, it changed my life.

It was the perfect mix of everything a romance should be, in my mind. An interesting hero, flawed but fabulous. A plucky heroine who managed to be plucky in a real way that made you fall in love with her. A mix of romance, redemption, and very (very!) importantly, humor. But mostly, a string of secondary characters who were well-rounded, unique and individual, stealing their own scenes and serving to further define the main characters for, as I say often, we are defined by those who love us.

In mentioning the secondary characters, I’ll point out that I particularly adored Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones, duenna to our heroine. Haughty, reserved and set in her ways, Ms. Throckmorton-Jones supplies some of the most delicious comedic moments…and some of the most loyal.

As much as I adored our hero, Ian Thornton, in a turnabout that was the staple of McNaught’s stories, our heroine, Elizabeth Cameron, stole the show. She was loyal, strong and amazing. So often, we fall so hard for the heroes, the heroines don’t find their way in our hearts. Not so with ALMOST HEAVEN (or any of McNaught’s novels). Elizabeth Cameron had a lot burdening her slim shoulders and she took it all on in clever, amusing and/or heartbreaking fashion.

But it must be mentioned that McNaught was a master of redemption. Although I think the redemption scene in her KINGDOM OF DREAMS is the best I’ve ever read, Ian is no slouch in this department.

Quite frankly, McNaught’s writing informed my own in an integral way where all the elements that make her novels such an utter joy for me to read every single time I read them (and there have been many), I’ve personalized and injected into my own. I want my readers to fall in love with my hero but I also want them to fall in love with my heroine AND all the people around them. To feel a part of that family. To be drawn into their lives so completely, they feel they belong to their posse. To be so involved in the story, they’re rooting everyone on like they would a friend who’s living and breathing.

Judith McNaught gave me that. She lit the way for my writing like no other author (and I had a great many favorites, including the aforementioned Johanna Lindsey as well as Penny Jordan, Jude Devereaux and Julie Garwood).

I’ll admit gleefully to the fact that my favorite romance genre is the historical. I’ve never written one and I rarely get to read anymore so I miss them. However, I’ll take this opportunity to share with you some I’ve read in (relatively) recent years that I found fantastic. These being Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series and Elizabeth Hoyt’s WICKED INTENTIONS.

And I’ll end this by saying, if you read romance and you haven’t read Judith McNaught, I encourage you to do so. They’re “vintage” and they’re still fabulous. Alas, they can’t be found on ebook for reasons that are very perplexing to me, but they’re definitely worth the investment in print. Even if you don’t read them again, you can pass them on to friends, libraries or used bookstores to make certain someone gets to share in their joy.

Though, my copies have spanned two states and two continents during my travels. I don’t let them go.

And I never will.
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Published on September 27, 2016 08:40 • 6,756 views

September 21, 2016

I get a lot of questions about what I would recommend for folks to read.

This, of course, seeing as I’m born of my mother, the Queen of the Grand Statement, made me think I should do a definitive list of all my favorite romance titles. And as with any Grand Statement, you almost immediately need to backtrack because every Grand Statement leads to another Grand Statement that contradicts or changes the previous Grand Statement, especially if you’re talking about definitive lists of romance novels.

So, I’m gonna do a series of blog posts about romance novels I’ve loved that have stayed with me, in some cases, for decades. Though, there will be some that are very new.

But I’ll say now that I reserve the right to add to this repeatedly in the future.

Now, I’m writing this sitting on a plane from Seattle to Phoenix. And after having what I consider an awesome idea for a blog post series, what should pop into my mind for reasons unknown, outside of the fact it’s a kickass book—Johanna Lindsey’s WARRIOR'S WOMAN.

Now, I have no clue why this popped into my mind (and not a Judith McNaught, but that’s for a later blog post) except for the fact that this book was such a revelation in its time. I bought it because I bought everything Ms. Lindsey wrote, devouring the back cover copy for information only purposes. If it had her name on the front and spine, I was gonna own that sucker.

But this book blew my mind.

In other words, if I was considering a definitive list of my recommended romance novels, this would definitively spring to mind.

See, this came out back in the eighties when Fabio was on the covers of many novels. Where fade to black happened a lot. Where every heroine was a virgin. Where, in some novels (though not the ones where Fabio was on the cover), you might, maybe, possibly, get a wee peck on the lips in the final two sentences of a book. Where the dude was the badass knight or pirate or duke of the realm, and the chick always but always looked damn fine in her dress(es). In fact, even if she somehow found herself tossed into a pig pen and was covered in mud, the smears on her face would only make her simply adorable.

I’m not making fun of this shizzle. I ate it up. Loved it. And still do.

But then one of my favorite authors puts this book out. And in this book there are robots that look like humans and space travel and…wait…what? Robots and space travel in a romance novel? Squewsay moi?

Ms. Lindsey didn’t stop there. She also gave us Tedra De Arr, a strong, smart, skilled heroine who’s a total badass. She’s also a virgin, but not because that’s a defining trait we’re supposed to believe makes her a worthier catch for our hero, but because she has decided to hold that back until she finds a dude who deserves it. She’s totally down with sex; she just hasn’t found the right guy yet.

Shizzle goes down on her home planet and tout de suite she needs to board a spaceship and surf the stars. Lucky for us, she finds herself meeting up with a barbarian warrior who, in a physical battle, can give her a little competition, something she doesn’t have on her home planet. This peaks ole Tedra’s interest. It helps he’s hot. And can be tender. And sweet. And a lot of other things.

I remember reading this book and thinking I hit the mother lode. I loved it. I devoured it. The idea of breaking the rules to this extent thrilled me. It might have even planted a little seed that would grow to give me the sense I could break the rules too…one day. And I did.

I recently reread this book and I enjoyed it just as much as I did back in the day. Loved it. And even though romance has long since blossomed and grown in amazing ways, WARRIOR'S WOMAN will forever stand as the novel that taught me that going rogue, blazing a trail, taking a chance can lead to spectacular things.

In other words, rereading this recently I would easily and wholeheartedly recommend it today.
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Published on September 21, 2016 10:03 • 5,898 views

September 24, 2015

Inspired by my favorite magazine, Us…

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

1) I make my bed every day.

2) My bed has so many pillows, you kinda can’t see the actual bed.

3) Speaking of pillows, I’m addicted to toss pillows. I even change out their covers with the seasons.

4) Number three is the reason that nearly every single book I’ve written has a mention of toss pillows.

5) Halloween is my favorite season. Candy, of course (goes without saying). Giving it away to kids for no other reason than demonstrating a generosity of spirit is another. And my penchant for interior décor that involves a lot of skulls looks, for a month, like I’m not crazy (don’t be fooled, I AM crazy).

6) I don’t have any guilty pleasures. I don’t believe anything that gives you pleasure should make you feel guilt.

7) I have a small, square black erase board (rather than a white erase board) in my office. It has two things written on it, has had two things written on it for three years and will only have two things written on it. A quote from Leland Chapman: “I don’t wanna f**kin’ shock you so f**kin’ chill the f**k out.” And, in my niece’s handwriting: “Work Hard. Have Fun. Be Happy.”

8) I change my purse to match my outfit. Even if this means I use seven purses in a week or three purses in a day, I do it without fail.
8a) I change out my lipstick/gloss the same way.

9) I’m crazy about recycling. I recycle toilet paper rolls. I get the heebie-jeebies if I get lazy and throw something in the rubbish that can be recycled. I usually dig it out and take it to the recycling bin.

10) I hate tomatoes.

11) I play with my hair a lot when watching TV or reading a book. In fact, most of the candid family photos in our house taken while I was growing up has me in the background, curled into a sofa or chair, nose in a book, fingers twirling my hair.

12) I do not believe in zoos or sea parks. I believe all beings should be free.
12a) I’d go on a whale watching tour or to a wildlife reserve like a SHOT.

13) I have the first drafts of BLISS (the first book I finished, unpublished, and it’s so awful, it never will be), MATHILDA, SUPERWITCH, LACYBOURNE MANOR, SOMMERSGATE HOUSE and ROCK CHICK printed out via printer and put in binders. I used to stare at them for inspiration. Now they sit in a huge bookshelf with all my published print books. And they’re still an inspiration because one must always start somewhere and once they do, they never know where that journey will take them. And that’s a fact, trust me, I know.

14) I feel bitterness is a religion and the people who practice it are the most vehement missionaries there are. There is great strength, beauty and peace in letting things go and practicing forgiveness.

15) Carly Phillips was the first published author to reach out to me. She shouted my books out to her readers and helped introduce me to the genre. Since then, we’ve met and I’m now proud to call her a friend.

16) When all gets done, I’ll have my books translated in eleven languages…and that continues to grow. This utterly THRILLS me.

17) My lifelong dream was to go to Fiji.

18) I’ve been to Fiji and it was beautiful.

19) I feel there is nothing more emotional to write than the dedication of a book. To this day I can pick up any book I’ve written, read the dedication, and instantly tear up.

20) I have the same sleeping issues as Lauren from SWEET DREAMS and have had since I was a kid. This is why I write. To put myself to sleep, I told myself stories. That’s how it all began. And this is still how it goes.

21) I tried once to learn how to play guitar. You have to have very short nails to play guitar. I quit trying to learn how to play guitar.

22) I miss my mother every day and wish she could be a part of this dream, sitting beside me in her wheelchair while I’m at a signing, smiling her majorette smile that got wonky after her stroke, but it never got any less beautiful.

23) The only people I judge are judgmental people.

24) My favorite color is pink.

25) I feel the most profound life lesson I’ve learned to date was learned very recently, while watching the film WILD. This being that we should own every bit of ourselves and our history because—no matter what that was, no matter how bad or how good—if we’re still breathing, we’re still here, so we WON.
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Published on September 24, 2015 12:21 • 12,474 views

June 25, 2015

This was in my newsletter and yesterday's Facebook post - so if you've seen it before (repeatedly), my apologies.

But in order to get the word out, I'm putting it EVERYWHERE!

It's long but totally worth it to get to the end. Or I hope you agree!

As you may (or may not) know, considering I dig my life—the life my readers give me by enjoying the work I do, investing in it and shouting out about it—I like to do what I can to give back.

This prompted me to create the Rock Chick Nation (to read about what the RC Nation has done, go here to the “Cool Things” section of my website).

We’ve had some spectacular results from our fundraising drive t-shirt sales.

Now we’re doing another one. A special one. One that I’m making an exception for.

You see [slight spoilers if you not NOTHING about the book], in RIDE STEADY, my hero, Joker, has been physically and emotionally abused by his father. He finds family in the brotherhood of Chaos and, as I always do things, he finds his HEA with his girl Carissa.

In real life, however, there are many who endure what Joker went through. A vulnerable population who sometimes have no one to step up for them and keep them safe.

But there’s a group of very dedicated people who go well beyond the call of duty to do what they can to put a stop to that.

Thus, this time, I’m not asking you to help me raise money for a woman’s charity. Nor am I asking you to nominate charities we’ll raise fund for.

I’m asking you to help me raise money for B.A.C.A.—Bikers Against Child Abuse ( Recently, E and I had the privilege of sitting down with Nytro, the PR and Events Co-ordinator for the Maricopa County chapter of B.A.C.A. Nytro explained in-depth the remarkable work this organization does for what they call our “little wounded brothers and sisters.” We’ll just say there were some wet eyes in Starbucks after Nytro shared the lengths to which B.A.C.A. goes to protect the children under their care…and the success stories they’ve had.

Now, we again are doing t-shirt sales, this time with the proceeds going to B.A.C.A. (the Maricopa County Chapter with 20% going to the International Organization in an effort to focus the funds to do needed work at the same time offer our assistance to help B.A.C.A. spread their work across the globe).

To make this as big a success so we can in order to make as big of an impact as we can, I’m going to be asking a lot from you:
• I’m asking you to spread the word - sharing this FB post will help!
• I’m asking you to visit B.A.C.A.’s website to learn what they do and how they do it (
• I’m also asking you, if you buy a t-shirt or not, to have a look for a B.A.C.A. chapter close to you and consider giving them a direct donation so you can help your little wounded brothers and sisters closer to home.

We won’t see the end to this unspeakable problem. Not in our lifetimes. But we can do what we can to protect those who face it. I hope you’ll join me in supporting men and women with golden hearts and the courage to put those hearts out there to do just that.

Now go forth and enjoy some shopping! As ever, all design and administration for RC Nation fundraisers is paid for by me and a matching gift will be sent with our donation—thus all proceeds will be sent direct to B.A.C.A.

All you gotta do is go find and buy your tee! Here are the links for ALL the fundraising tees available. Take your pick and wear it proud!

Chaos Logo Only Tee:

Are you Property of Tack?

Are you Property of Shy?

Are you Property of Hop?

Are you Property of Joker?

Are you Property of High?

Are you Property of Rush?

Are you Property of Snapper?

Are you Property of Hound?

Are you Property of Dog?

Are you Property of Brick?

Are you Property of Roscoe?

Buy one, buy two, buy one for your girlfriend just because. Every little helps to do our bit to help B.A.C.A. make wounded souls feel safe.

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Published on June 25, 2015 07:49 • 6,103 views • Tags: chaos, charity, kristen-ashley, rock-chick-nation

August 6, 2013

Some spoilers in here so if you haven’t read the books, beware!

1) Neither Eddie nor Hank were meant to get a book. Both of them were secondary characters when I started to write Rock Chick. Hank started pulling at me early (as in, while writing Chapter 1). But Eddie was a different story. The minute he came to me, sitting outside Paris on the Platte, so strong in my head, the sun shining on his lusciousness, I fell in love.

In fact, I fell so in love that when Indy and Eddie were at Walgreen’s, I quit writing Rock Chick and started writing Rock Chick Rescue. Then I fell so in love with Hank, I wrote Rock Chick Redemption. And during that, I fell so in love with Vance that I went on to write Rock Chick Renegade. And then, no joke, I kept going with Luke.

I actually didn’t finish Indy and Lee until after writing Revenge.

2) When I was in Denver, I owned Indy’s duplex and rented Ava’s row house and Jules’s apartment (with the weird bed loft that was totally awesome). Lee’s condo was based on some friends of mine’s condo in Governor’s Park. Ren’s house is also a friend of mine’s in Cheesman Park. Same with Hank’s House in Bonnie Brae and Eddie’s house in Platte Park. Another friend of mine owned a mansion she was fixing up with her partner, and she rented space in it, and one of those spaces was an awful lot like where Stella lived. Hector lives in a house just like the home of a guy friend of mine in the Highland’s. Writing thus, I got to be places I loved with people I loved, which was the whole point of the Rock Chick Series.

3) While I was writing the Rock Chick Series, I would send my chapters to my friends Cat and Dena and my uncle Will. I was at the part in Reckoning when Mace and Stella are shot at on the stage. I’d just finished writing that chapter when both of them went down, sent it off to Cat, Dena and Will and I stopped to take a bath. In the bath, Sadie from Regret came to me, full-fledged, history and all that had happened to her.

I burst out crying, big, wet, slobbery tears and pulled myself from the bath. I toweled off, threw on some clothes and sat down at my computer as soon as I could, writing Sadie and Hector, and I was a woman obsessed.

See, when Eddie talks to Jet about his fears that her pathological shyness has to do with her maybe being raped, I knew that his brother would face that atrocity with his woman. So Sadie had been playing at the back of my head for three and a half books. In the bath, it was her time to come out but what happened to her, the life she lived was so awful, I was desperate to get her to her happily ever after.

I was in seventh heaven writing Sadie and Hector. But Cat, Dena and Will were not. They were back with Stella and Mace on the stage and had to wait ages for me to get back to them to let them know all was well. And it took longer than them waiting for just one book, for, I fear, I may have written some other books in the meantime too. I’m flighty that way.

4) I had a cat just like Jules’s cat, Boo. His name was Cedric. He was the best cat in the world. He died in my car after having surgery to remove a tumor at a vet who didn’t have the capacity to monitor an animal 24/7 (which the man should have told me in the first freaking place). I was rushing him to the emergency vet hospital, which was half an hour away, hoping and praying he’d make it.

When Cedric passed, I actually felt his beauty leave my car. I knew the instant he took his last kitty breath in his carrier on my back seat.

It’s been years, but to this day, I miss his pride, his affection, his stubbornness, his kitty conversations and his company.

But I love it that I get to visit him when I read Renegade.

5) Tex is a real person. So is Mr. Kumar. And I used to hang with my “Mr. Kumar” in his corner shop. Both of them were the bomb.

6) While immersed in the Rock Chick World, for research purposes, I asked my crazy friend, Frank, to take me to a gun shop. He did and we pored over display case after display case of guns, knives, brass knuckles, batons, mace delivery systems and then some. The place was fascinating, if not the vibe of my usual shopping extravaganzas – including the fact that it was absolutely not, in any way, designed for a woman to shop there. It wasn’t men only but the look, feel, smell and calendar content said this was a place fit for a dude. It…was…awesome.

Thus, Zip’s Gun Emporium was born.

7) On occasion, when the mood struck us, my real life Tod and Stevie (my neighbors when I lived in Indy’s duplex), would have dress up nights. This being Tod and Stevie dressing me up in Tod’s drag queen gowns. We actually have pictorial evidence on my website of such an occasion when I was home from England and visiting them. I also borrowed Tod’s shoes. And we played Yahtzee (the Deluxe edition) with Freixenet so frequently, I’m not sure the game was ever put away.

Oh, and Chowleena was also real. Her name was Vail. And she had attitude. I doted on her and looked after her when Tod and Stevie were on flights. Vail and I used to take walks and people would stop me to pet her (she hated this; she wanted to walk and sniff, not be pet). Vail also had an unusual hairstyle, just like Chowleena. One dude stopped me and hooted, “That dog is wearing chaps!” He wasn’t wrong. She looked just like she was wearing chaps.

She also, alas, is no longer with us. But like Cedric/Boo, I get her back whenever I’m with the Rock Chicks.

8) I wear the perfume Roxie wears, the silver Ava wears and I have an “I do my own stunts” t-shirt – my most favorite tee in a vast collection.

9) The original manuscripts for the Rock Chicks included all the lyrics to the songs intermingled with the action, most notably practically everything Stella sang in Reckoning and Jet and her dad singing “Jet” at varying times in Rescue. I can’t publish lyrics without the permission of the artist so I had to rewrite anything with lyrics in it. Which sucked. They were much better scenes originally.

10) My mother was a letter writer. She hated the phone. She wrote letters all the time.

Her last letter to me before she died was right after she read Rock Chick. She loved it but said, “Kiki, did you have to have so much sex and use so many curse words?” Alas, I never got to answer those questions.

The last line said, “I hope you find your Lee.”

That was the last thing my mother ever “said” to me. And that’s probably why Lee will always be my favorite. Because my momma wanted him for me.
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Published on August 06, 2013 07:26 • 22,279 views • Tags: ally, ava, eddie, hank, hector, indy, jet, jules, kristen-ashley, lee, luke, mace, ren, rock-chicks, roxie, sadie, stella, tex, vance

April 10, 2013

We know that there was a delay for international readers with the launch of Own the Wind and we'd like to take a moment to explain the delay and how we hope to fix this issue with the Fire Inside release.

First of all, an explanation. Grand Central Publishing/Forever only holds the English version rights to some of my books for North America. What this means is that they sell ebooks and print books of their titles to the US, Canada and all US territories (Philippines, Virgin Islands, Guam, etc.) And since they are a publisher they have the ability to put books for sale on Amazon/B&N, etc. as pre-orders. Unfortunately, what this means is that if you live outside of the areas mentioned, you won't be able to place a pre-order with any online retailer. What this also means is that if you do place a pre-order, the online retailer will not be able to honor your pre-order due to your location. (If this happened to you contact the retailer and request a refund for the book they did not send you.)

What this further means is that I must publish all GCP titles internationally by self-publishing through Amazon. That process for Own the Wind worked something like this:

1) GCP plans to publish "book" on April 2 to North America. GCP version will automatically go live.
2) I plan to self-publish "book" on April 2 to all international Amazon sites. I submits book through Kindle Direct Publishing but there is no “go live” function to submit what date and time the book can be made available.
3) I cross her fingers and say a little prayer that Amazon will post my self-published international book as soon as possible.
4) GCP title is released at the proper time and pre-orders are sent to anyone in North America that ordered.
5) International fans are still waiting for the book to become live so they can purchase.

Amazon’s self-publishing process is automated, therefore no one controls when the book is released. As for Own the Wind, this title was self-published as early as we could so that international readers would not have long to wait. This was a balancing act we needed to perform in order not to circumvent the actual release date. After self-publishing 37 books, we have never seen a uniform time as to when the book is submitted and then released. We've seen books go live within an hour of publishing on Amazon and we've seen them take over 24 hours. And at this point, there is unfortunately nothing we can do about that.

However, what we will do with the next GCP release (Fire Inside) is attempt to add the book earlier and cross our fingers that there isn't a huge time delay between the North America release and the international release.

Just know, we’ve heard your complaints, we, too, had our concerns running up to the release, made our plans and truthfully did our best. We’ll try to do better next time but please do understand that some of this is out of our control.

Thanks for caring enough to complain…

Your Rock Chick Team

PS: Not to compound the bad news but Smashwords, Sony, Kobo, Apple’s iBookstore and B&N do not offer self-published authors the capacity to choose which territories in which their titles are or are not available. Amazon does offer this function and therefore we are contractually unable to self-publish on any of those retailers. I know. We think it’s a bummer, too. But we do keep on the pulse of all this and if any of this ever changes, we’ll be all over it!
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Published on April 10, 2013 08:48 • 3,821 views • Tags: fire-inside, kristen-ashley, own-the-wind

January 18, 2013

I finally have definitive news to impart on you but I share it with a warning to read the entire post. We get to the good news at the end.

First, I feel I need to ‘splain something. As I was walking around my ‘hood some weeks ago (and getting lost, no joke, I got lost in my own ‘hood!), I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to supply you with KA goodness at the rate you’ve become accustomed. As it happens with me, my brain belatedly reminded me that the last two-ish years I had a library of books on my hard drive numbering at over 20 that I could clean up and unleash. These books were done or mostly done so I had a ready supply.

All of those books are out. They may be out but many of them were published with grievous errors that nag me and I think, every day, I wish I had a magic wand to proof them and republish them so cleaner versions would be available.

But the bottom line is, everything that comes to you now is not only written from scratch but also proofed and edited so it isn’t just me slapping these puppies up on on-line retail sites. Further, prior to releasing a new book in a series, all the books prior to it will be proofed and republished as clean. Obviously, the process is therefore longer.

That said, because I’m me, I didn’t take December off like I said I would. In fact, I worked like my usual crazy demon with happy results I can’t wait to share with you.

This is where we get into the good news even if there is some delayed gratification good news.

We’ll start with the Rock Chicks. In an effort to immerse myself back at Fortnum’s, I’m rereading the entire series with a good deal of concentration so I don’t miss anything that needs to be included in the grand finale.

I’m also doing preliminary cleanup of each book. They will then be proofed. Once additional changes are accepted, they will be published in print. Yes! In print! We’re self-publishing them, all-new clean (hopefully) versions of the entire series. We hope to begin rolling these out shortly. And I will note here that, although “cleaned up”, the stories won’t change.

This is a long process and, as the Rock Chicks are near and dear to my heart, and for me (and YOU), it is crucial to provide a wrap up of that series with Ally and Ren’s story being something special. So I am not pushing this. I am taking my time with it. And in the end, I hope you thank me.

But that doesn’t mean you have to wait forever for more from me. As you know, Own the Wind, the first in the new CHAOS series coming through Grand Central Publishing, will be available in eBook on April 2, out in print June 25! The book has been finalized and I… LOVE… it. I’m absolutely freaking DELIGHTED with the end result and cannot wait until you get your dose of Tabby and Shy as well as a few other people you know and love. I will be releasing sample chapters on my website in March so watch for them!

Further good news is that the second in the CHAOS series has started the editing process. Lanie and Hop of Fire Inside will actually be coming to you very shortly after Own the Wind with a release date in the summer of 2013 to be announced. And I don’t know, I hate to toot my own horn, but gotta say, Lanie and Hop kick ass! Hop, oh Hop. Mm…

Right! Moving on! What’s next up…

Many of you know that I write obsessively, I work obsessively and, if an idea hits me, sometimes, I have to groove with it.

So, a few weeks ago, I was sitting outside in my courtyard. I live away from the city and therefore my night sky is totally freaking awesome. I love sitting out there in the dark, staring at the sky.

And that was what I was doing when, get this, no kidding, I saw a shooting star! My mouth dropped open, I stared at the sky and I felt a chill glide over my skin because that was just… plain… COOL!

Then, again, no joke, right after that star streaked across the sky, fading to nothing, Raiden Miller came to me with a shot. Much like Tatum Jackson, Raid slammed right into my consciousness fully formed, looks, back story, everything, and he took hold in a way that I knew he would not let go.

I freaked! I was instantly in love but I had a Rock Chick to write! I had no business delving into a book not even scheduled to be written.

I fought him, I really did.

But he didn’t let go.

So I had no choice but to throw myself into his story. This had a lot to do with the fact that he, like many other characters I’ve written (such as Sadie Townsend from Rock Chick Regret) really, really needed his happily ever after and I was obsessed with giving it to him. I couldn’t rest until I did. And I didn’t rest. Going back to my habit of writing from early morning to the edge of night, I pounded out his and Hanna’s story amidst laughter and tears and heartbreak.

And that’s what you’re going to get next. Working chapters are now up on my website and Raid will be released on February 28, 2013 . Yee ha!

To end, in an effort not to set expectations I might not be able to reach, I will not be announcing publication estimates until a book is fully written and in the editing process. That way we know we can get you what we promise and not disappoint you. That’s the last thing I ever want to do and pushing back a few books recently, it eats at me I’ve done it. I’ve learned my lesson. Now, I make a promise, I keep it.

That said, what you’re expecting to happen (Ally and Ren’s story, the next in the FANTASYLAND and ‘BURG series), will happen. It’s just that you won’t know when you’re getting them until I KNOW I can get them to you when I say I will.

And I’ll make a promise now. No matter what you see on my release schedule, please know, in my Rock Chick Lair, I’m working my sweats off to give you great stories. You may have to wait a bit longer but, while you wait, I’ll be doing my utter best to make them the best they can be.

Now, sistahs, that’s a Rock Chick Promise.

So count on it.
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Published on January 18, 2013 07:57 • 22,756 views

November 21, 2012

Is Love Real?

“As a songwriter I always felt one of my jobs was to face the questions that evolve out of my music and search for the answers as best as I could. For me, the primary questions I’d be writing about for the rest of my work life first took form in the songs on Born to Run (‘I want to know if love is real’).” - Bruce Springsteen, taken from the book SONGS for the liner notes of the 30th Anniversary Edition of Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen released Born to Run when he was 26. He was musically exploring the answers to the question, “I want to know if love is real” when he was around 24, embarking on a career where he’d be writing about that question for decades.

Bruce did it at 24, I did it at 42. I was always a bit slow.

Now, Rock Chicks, do not get your backs up about me comparing myself to Bruce Springsteen. He’s a rock god, a storyteller poet of epic proportions whose music will be enjoyed and explored in the centuries to come like we do Mozart and Beethoven. I know I’m not in that league.

Further, the truth is, I started exploring this question through novels when I was 35. However, I didn’t have the courage to release my answers in any real way until I was 42.

Now, with the release of With Everything I Am, the last in my back library of books that I’d written over the last near-on a decade, I’ve found myself in the surprising position of reflecting. Reflecting on the last nine years with a hint of melancholy at the same time embarking on a new journey as the wild and winding path opens up to a manicured boulevard with fountains, rose bushes and palm trees.

See, like Bruce, I asked the question again and again, “I want to know if love is real,” and I came up with many different answers but, for years, they were my answers written only for me. Releasing them out into the world was a scary prospect. The answers to this question took so many forms – true, real, abiding love between humans and vampires, otherworldy warriors and moving company office managers, bounty hunters and barmaids, lovers in their 20s, 30s, 40s, kids, exes, crazy families, death, heartbreak and lots and lots of kidnappings.

It is easy to entertain yourself especially when, while doing it, you fall in love again and again and again. I’m often asked who is my favorite hero and the answer is, the one I’m writing at the time. Looking back at my work, I can’t pick a favorite but I have one and he’s the one who’s currently with me. So, to share him, all of them, and finally find myself at a place where I don’t have a stockpile of heroes and heroines who are just mine, I have not introduced them to anyone, is an unexpectedly weird place to be.

Knowing my books have been embraced by my readers makes this easier. What makes it even easier, after I moved out of the wild and thorny path with the support of my readers guiding me, I smelled the roses and felt the sun. And what makes it even easier is that, strangely coinciding with the end of that era, I’m looking ahead and watching with awe as my horizons broaden before me.

This means, after great reflection, I decided to add to my team by uniting with Emily Sylvan Kim of Prospect Agency and Amy Pierpont and Lauren Plude at Grand Central Publishing in an effort to introduce my work to more readers, put it in print and bookstores and collaborate on my books with talented editors in order to make them better.

As with any risk, especially a risk you take with something that comes straight out of that golden place in your soul, travels through the warmth of the lifeblood pumping through your heart and onto a computer screen, I’m a little scared. And, as with any risk, I’m also freaking excited. I am one of those weird people who likes change and I’m one of those not-so-weird people who likes to learn. But Emily and I have chosen carefully and Amy and Lauren were readers of mine before we joined forces in an effort to provide a richer experience for you so they are committed to preserving my voice (and my edge), just making it better.

Not to be anxious about this, my work, my lifeblood, a new challenge, learning, adjustment, would be inhuman and I am all things human, the foibles, the uncertainties, the dorkiness. But not to let my dream soar, to give back to those who linked their hands and gave me a leg up by reading my work and telling their friends, family, anyone who would listen, giving them the chance to say, “I’ve been a Rock Chick for ages…” would be cowardly.

I may fret, certainly bite my lip but I am no coward.

So here we go, girlies. I’m taking you with me as I walk down that rose-scented boulevard to the edge of the horizon, spread my arms, cock my knees and push off… ready to fly, hoping to soar, doing it continuing to explore Bruce’s question, “Is love real?” and hoping like all hell you like my answers.
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Published on November 21, 2012 10:33 • 3,159 views • Tags: callum-and-sonia, grand-central-publishing, kristen-ashley, with-everything-i-am