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13) I have the first drafts of BLISS (the first book I finished, unpublished, and it’s so awful, it never will be), MATHILDA, SUPERWITCH, LACYBOURNE MANOR, SOMMERSGATE HOUSE and ROCK CHICK printed out via printer and put in binders.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.
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 (http://bacaworld.org/). 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 (http://bacaworld.org/) • 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!
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.
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… And ROCK ON!
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!
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.
“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.
In the next year, to support those who supported me in living my dream, I will be creating the Rock Chick Nation, a community of sisters looking after sisters, doing good deeds, having fun and living, breathing and rocking the Rock Chick lifestyle.
The Mission is to live your best life, be true to your true self, recognize your beauty and, last but definitely not least, taking your sister's back whether they're at your side as friends and family or if they're thousands of miles away and you don't even know who they are.
To kick this mother off, I am launching the Rock Chick Nation with the first program, Rock Chick Rewards.
Rock Chick Rewards
What does a sister do when she's living her dream with thousands of sisters at her back making it real?
She gives back.
Therefore, I'm introducing my new program, Rock Chick Rewards.
Three to four times a year, on my Facebook page and the Goodreads Kristen Ashley Addicts Support Group, I will send a callout to my Rock Chicks to nominate their favorite woman's charity to receive a Rock Chick Reward. There will be a time limit on the callout and once that's done, the charities nominated will be put in a hat and one will be selected randomly.
Once the winner is selected, I will auction a Kristen Ashley Swag Bag (or, more accurately, a box). For the first auction, this will include a personalized signed copy of Rock Chick Redemption, a Rock Chick bumper sticker as well as other surprise goodies. I'll do my best to keep this exciting with different KA Swag Bags up for grabs and they won't be all about Rock Chick but all my books (we have got some killer, exciting ideas… just you wait!). All monies raised will be donated to the winning charity with a matched gift from moi (up to $500 USD just in case you sistahs go bidding crazy).
Now, I'm a Rock Chick so I'm not hip on a lot of rules but there must be some and here they are:
1) Anyone can nominate any woman's charity from any country. However, the charity nominated has to be a recognized charity in that country, for instance, in the US, it has to have 501(c)3 status or in the UK it has to be registered with The Charities Commission and have a charity number. They also have to be charities in good standing. And last, the charity must provide services to women. These can include domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, ovarian or breast cancer organizations, etc. Only women's charities will be put in the hat. After the auction is done, we will deal with payments or transfers of money.
2) Anyone from any country can participate in the auction as long as they can pay for their bid. We will send the Swag Bag anywhere, insured, but we cannot be responsible for local post delivery.
3) Spreading the Rock Chick love means that if a charity is chosen, it won't be eligible to receive another donation for a calendar year so other charities can have a shot.
4) All expenses for this program (swag bag, postage, etc.) will be paid for by moi so the entirety of the winning bid and the matching donation will be made to charity without expenses deducted.
5) Nominations for charities will only be accepted on the postings on my Facebook page or on the Kristen Ashley Addicts Goodreads page. Please don't email or tweet nominations, too hard to keep track of those!
Now all charities need our support and I want to give back to you by providing that support to a cause that's close to your heart. That said, although all charity selections will be completely random, I'll point out that smaller, lesser known and local charities often struggle mightily for funds. So when you're thinking about what you want the Rock Chick Nation to support, give a thought to local or little known charities who could really do with the dosh. And remember, the mission is sisters looking out for sisters so only women's charities will be accepted as nominees.
And last, this is the best way I could think of to thank you for making my dreams come true. You did me a world of good and it's important to me to give back. As the months roll by, more programs in the Rock Chick Nation will be rolled out so keep in touch on my website, my Facebook page and the Kristen Ashley Addicts Group on Goodreads.com to learn what's happening.
Now, let's link arms, sisters, and do some good together!
Today, my blog is being taken over by the girls from www.totallybookedblog.com, Jenny and Gitte. They recently spent some time in Carnal and want to share their experience with you.
Gitte and I recently spent a day in Carnal, Colorado where we caught up with a few of the characters who live in this crazy town!
We managed to shoot the breeze and try and find out a little bit about Chace and Faye for you as Kristen Ashley has written a book about them called Breathe.
So sit back and enjoy the shenanigans that went on that day.
Saturday 21st July 2012
We’ve just arrived in Carnal, Colorado and it’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining and we’re on hyper alert at the prospect of meeting Ty and Tate……..serious swoon!
We arrive in La-La Land Coffee and who’s behind the counter? Shambles wearing John Lennon glasses with purple lenses and a braided leather band tied around his forehead.
“Dudettes!” he cries when the bell over the door rings.
Gitte and I call our greetings as we walk to the counter and Shambles’s head jerks.
“I sense you’re not from around here,” he notes.
Gitte: “I’m Danish but live in England.”
Jenny: “I’m from Oz.”
Shambles, his whole body jerking: “Oz! Like, follow the yellow brick road? Far out!”
Jenny: “No, Oz as in Australia.”
Shambles’s face falls.
Gitte leans into Jenny: “I think someone’s been hitting the whacky weed.”
Shambles recovers from his disappointment and asks: “What can I get you?”
Jenny: “Double shot skinny cappuccino.”
Gitte: “Strong flat white.”
Shambles, his brows furrowing: “Strong flat what?”
Gitte: “Strong flat white.”
Shambles: “Dudette, sorry, we don’t do Danish coffee.”
Gitte: “It’s not Danish. It’s strong coffee with milk.”
Shambles, body jerking again: “Right on! Do they say that in Danish-land?”
Gitte: “Danish-land would be Denmark and no, that’s what they say in England.”
Shambles, turning to the coffee machine mumbling: “Dig it. Denmark. England. Australia. La-La Land goes international. Right the ef on.”
Shambles gets us our drinks and we sit down and… OMG! We hear a Harley and the growl of a smooth engine pulling up outside. I think we’re going to faint.
We’re holding hands we’re so excited, but also trying to look cool……it’s not working because Gitte is practically salivating. I can see I’m going to have to be the sensible one in this interview……….yeah right!.
Tate Jackson and Ty Walker stroll in, both in jeans and tees. Tate’s jeans are more faded. Ty’s tee is tighter. Both are wearing ass kicking boots.
Ty: “Same, welcome ladies.” [Ty just nods……oh god!]
G&J: “Hi” (that’s it, that’s all we can manage….we’re screwed! )
Tate examines our drinks then dips his head at them.
Tate: “You enjoyin’ those or you want a something a little stronger?”
Ty, also examining our coffees and not hiding his contempt: “They need something a little stronger.”
Jenny: “Fine with us, we’ll meet you there, our rental car is outside”.
Tate: “Uh, Bubba’s is just down the street. But Laurie said something about you two wanting rides in Ty’s Viper and on my bike?”
Gitte: (Gitte whispers) “Oh god Jenny, I think I just came over all unnecessary!”
Jenny: (my mouths gone dry) “Gitte, just grab the helmet and get on the bike!”
Gitte hitches up her skirt and hops on Tate’s bike (hmmm I’m sure she doesn’t need to be that close to him and I also bet she’s glad she wore that tight skirt today!) and I fold into Ty’s Viper (hmmm maybe we DO need to be THAT close to them)
The boys take us for a spin around Carnal then we arrive at Bubba’s and it’s exactly like we imagined it. ……………………and ………………..are here.
Tate gets us a vodka each and…..a shot! Oh no, this is not going to end well.
We’re seated at a table……these guys are beyond freaking gorgeous…..girls, you cannot imagine how scrumptious they are in the flesh, all those muscles and yes, we’re imagining the abs beneath those tight, tight (did we mention abs!) tees, oh lord have mercy they are divine!
We down our shot and another appears……we’ve made short work of that one too
Jenny: “Tate, can I ask – first thought when you saw Lauren for the first time”?
Tate: “I wanted to tap that and I needed to tap that like I needed a hole in the head. Still, I wanted to tap it.” [grins] “Luckily, I got to tap it. Though it took too fuckin’ long.”
Gitte: “Ty, same question to you. First thought when you saw Lexie?”
Ty: “About the same thing. And it also took too fuckin’ long.”
Gitte and I are looking at each other knowing and she mouths “don’t you just want to lick Ty’s tattoos”. I mouth back “hell yeah”
Ty turns his head to look at Tate and he grins – OMG they know what we said!
Jenny: Gitte, drink your vodka” (I may sound calm, but inside I’m dying with excitement)
Jenny: “Sorry about that guys. Where were we? Oh yeah, Ty have you gotten any new ones since we last saw you”?
Ty: “Did you two just say you wanna lick my tattoos?”
Another drink and shot arrive…..the shots are down the hatch!
(Gitte and I are blushing, oh my god, how embarrassing!)
Ty: “I don’t have a problem with you licking them. But Lex would. So, sorry, little mamas, but gotta give that a pass.”
Tate: [mumbling but with his lips tipped up] “Don’t know whether to be relieved or insulted they don’t wanna lick mine.”
(Gitte and I share a “oh but we do” glance)
Ty gives Tate a look and they share another grin.
Jenny: “Ty, have you ever worn your Team Walker shirt out in public and does Lexie wear hers”?
Ty: “If the gym is public, yeah. Other than that, no. But Lex wears hers all the time. She even bought one for Lella and Lella wears hers all the time too.”
Jenny: “Ty, are you coping better with your oestrogen filled household”
Ty: “Either you got boys?”
Gitte and I both nod.
Ty: “Then send them my way. I’m dyin’ in that house. I see anymore pink, I’m gonna kill someone.”
Tate drops his gaze to the table and his broad shoulders shake with his chuckles. (Lord have mercy!)
Jenny: “Tate, how’s Princess….ooops, I mean…………..Buster” (oh god, the alcohol is hitting!)
Gitte: “I love Princess Fancy Pants” (those shots are working)
Tate: “I don’t do violence to women so, just sayin’, you call my cat Princess Fancy Pants again, I’ll have to get creative.”
(Too late, another shot arrives – we’re just about over our sensible shot limit)
Jenny: "Can you tell us about a little insight into Chace and Faye before the release of Breathe on the 25th July?" [Kit note: What my girlies didn't know is that Breathe will be released today, the 23rd of July!]
Tate: “That shit was whacked.”
Ty: “Ended well though.”
Tate: “Thank fuck.”
Gitte: Let’s dance! (I’m giving her an incredulous look…….. ummm there’s no music Gitte! )
Tate [shouting toward the bar]: “Bubba, put on some music!”
Bubba: “You got it, man!”
Jenny: “Ahhh what the hell, one dance won’t hurt”
Bon Jovi Livin’ On A Prayer comes on and Gitte and I get up to bust a move. Bikers playing pool stop to watch. A couple come over and gyrate around us. Bubba rounds the bar and gets in on the act, grabbing both of our hands and twirling us around. Tate and Ty sit at the table and watch, their lips curled up.
Gitte: [waving her hand in a come hither gesture] “Dance with us!”
Ty: “Little mama, you’re sweet but no fuckin’ way I’m dancing to fuckin’ Bon Jovi.”
Tate just smiles
The song ends, Bubba bends low to kiss both our cheeks before he wanders back to the bar and we sit down again.
Jenny: “Tate, how are things going at Bubba’s”?
Tate: “Hoppin’, babe. Only way it ever is in a biker bar. [grins at me] As you’ve seen about two seconds ago.”
Jenny: (I’m feeling lightheaded and forgetting what questions to ask) – “Tate, do you and Lauren have a “couple” song”
Tate: “We didn’t. Then Laurie saw something on Kit’s Facebook page. Woman named Shanta suggested our song was ‘Trouble’ by Ray LaMontagne. Laurie went fuckin’ nuts for that song. [a different kind of grin] Anytime Jonas isn’t home, she puts it on then she gets in a certain mood. So, yeah, I’d say that song works. Shanta has good taste.” (naaaw sweet)
Jenny: “Same question for you and Lexie. What song is your “couple” song”
Ty: “And same answer, Lex saw somethin’ on Kit’s page. A lady by the name of Lisa said Alicia Keys’s ‘Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart’ was our song. It reminds us of bad times that we made good and how we’re never fuckin’ goin’ back there. Never again.” (serious sigh)
The door opens and Chace Keaton saunters in.
Gitte: “OMG! Is that Chace?”
He hears, as he would since Gitte is shouting, his head turns and his blue eyes slide through Tate and Ty before he moves our way. (we are seriously swooning – wait ‘till you meet Chace…..OH MY GOD!)
We stare up at him and try not to drool.
Chace: [Eyes on Tate] “These the women from Totallybookedblog?”
Chace: [Eyes on Gitte and me] “Mind if I sit?”
We nod enthusiastically and he folds his long body into a chair.
Jenny: “Where’s Faye?”
Chace: “She works Saturdays. Library’s open.”
Gitte: “How are things?”
Chace grins and says nothing more.
Jenny: “Come on, give us more.”
Chace: [speaking softly] “Touched by an angel.”
We wait but he gives us nothing.
Jenny: “That’s it?”
Chace: “I think Kit goes into specifics in the book.”
Gitte: “Just a little teaser.”
Chace: [eyes going intense] “She held out for a hero, thinks she got that. Not sayin’ I agree, just sayin’ I’m glad she feels that way but pissed it was somethin’ that had to be proven. Twice. And, like I said, I was touched by an angel. Not hard to be a hero when what lies in the balance is an angel.”
[Led Zepplin’s “Kashmir” comes on]
Gitte: “OMG I love this song!”
Jenny: “Me too” (this is going downhill fast….we’re linking arms, singing and putting in all the dramatics)
We’re full in full singing mode when Lexie and Lauren walk in
Lauren: Ummmmm I thought this was an informal chat, it looks more like a party
Lexie: Yeah, a party I want to join
Jenny: “Well, line those shots up and call up the girls because we wanna party”
Gitte: “Yeah, party!!”
Lexie: I love these girls they know how to have a good time
Lauren: Yeah, they’re my kind of girls.
Lauren pulls out her phone and calls Krystal to tell her to get her behind to Bubba’s. Krystal shows and not long after so do Wendy, Stella, Maggie and the rest.
Things got rowdy and we don’t remember it all but we do both remember arm wrestling with Twyla (and both losing).
Tate and Ty might not dance, but Chace has no such qualms. He gave both Gitte and me a spin and let’s just say, that man can dance!
Jenny: “Well, we’d like to say we got to ask more questions, but it didn’t happen. We’re both nursing severe hangovers and passed out last night in the Carnal Hotel. Lucky Betty was there to look after us because we have no idea how we got home”
So, that concludes our visit to Carnal. Sorry we couldn’t give you a more insight into Ty, Tate and co, but let us say, these guys know how to show a girl a good time.”
Back in the day, I was like Jet from ROCK CHICK RESCUE. I can still be a little Jet-ish if the mood strikes me. That is to say, if there was a hot guy anywhere in the vicinity, I would either a) do something immensely stupid or b) clam up and try to be invisible.
I was also a cocktail waitress. Now, don’t get excited. I wasn’t one of those Smithie’s, tight tank, short skirt, high heels ones. I was a cocktail waitress at a place called Beef and Boards in Indianapolis. It was a dinner theater and it was knee-length black skirt, comfy shoes and tuxedo shirt with bow tie.
There are lots of Beef and Boards stories to tell. This was mostly because I was the worst cocktail waitress EVAH! I’ll tell the story of the Three Dog Night um… night in some other blog. We’ll just say that I met the boys in the band and Three Dog Night are not my biggest fans. Or they weren’t that night. They probably don’t remember me though I did make an impression. Just a bad one.
So, the Chippendales dancers were doing a show at our dinner theater. Obviously, being Jet, this terrified me. And also obviously, being a really crappy waitress, I was even more terrified of having to serve a bunch of dancing-in-their-seats, shouting, randy women.
It was not a good night.
First because, dancing-in-their-seats, shouting, randy women ordered strawberry daiquiris. Lots of them. Do you know how hard it is to balance seven strawberry daiquiris on a cocktail tray? Let me tell you. It’s very, very hard. And to serve with a bunch of dancing-in-their-seats, shouting, randy women is harder still. And I’ll remind you, I wasn’t good at the gig in the first place.
So, as it was bound to happen, I dumped a tray of daiquiris into one woman’s lap. She was not best pleased even after my manager whipped out his ever-present-when-I-was-on-shift dry cleaning coupons.
Further, those women each had approximately five hundred dollars worth of one dollar bills. And they had uses for each and every one. And those uses were not to tip their waitress.
Clearly, I was a little shaken after The Daiquiri Incident and still had visions of the hair-pulling catfight I narrowly missed so when I walked into the hidden bar at the top of the theater and Cowboy Dancer was there, I was in no state.
And this would become that random moment I want back.
See, he was hot. Now, there are degrees of hot and we’ll just say the Chippendales dancers pretty much define those degrees. So on the hot-o-meter, he rang the bell. LOUD!
Oh. My. God.
This guy was crazy, sexy, hot. Holy crap. Unbelievable.
And being Jet, shy and clueless, and it being after The Daiquiri Incident, it wasn’t until way, way, way too late that I realized the dude only had eyes for me. From the minute I walked in, he watched me. So from the minute I walked in, I totally avoided him like the plague.
He stood leaning on the bar by the thingie we had to enter our drinks into and of course, I had to enter my order of seventeen strawberry daiquiris and I swear to GOD, I could feel his gaze all over my body. Every inch. It was inches away. He was inches away. And I didn’t so much as turn my head and smile at him.
I’m a stupid bee-yatch.
Anyhoots, my order was served and there I was with my tray of seventeen strawberry daiquiris and I walked into the theater to serve them.
The theater was dark.
Now, I’m night blind (do you see why I was a bad waitress? That and not being able to make change, hopeless). I have no hope of moving through the theater to serve my drinks. So I stood there, waiting for the next troop of hot guys to hit the stage and the lights to go on.
The problem was (CLUELESS!) the next hot guy up was the cowboy.
And thus, the spotlight came on and when it did, it shone on me.
I blinked in shock then suddenly became part of the act as hot, sexy as all heck Cowboy Stripper started dancing and gyrating around me.
Needless to say, I was frozen to the spot, my sole focus on not dropping my tray (and, um… maybe his chest and other parts of his body). So when I focused on his face and saw his eyes on me, I didn’t catch it at the time. The look in his eyes, the intensity of it. The fact that he wasn’t biting his lip or doing anything that was for the girls he was entertaining but that his sole focus was not on my tray.
But on me.
Seriously, this is the random moment in my life I want back. Do you get what I’m telling you?
And nearly the instant he caught my eyes, he read me. He knew I was mortified, even suffering, and he moved right away. He didn’t make me endure even a second longer of that scene.
And he did that for me.
It was a nice thing to do.
After, and this is not a joke, the house lights up, we’re clearing our tables and the boys came out to meet the women in the audience they had somehow, during the show, chosen to be The One for One Night (for some of them, it was two and by two I don’t mean two nights).
I peeked and the Cowboy wasn’t there.
I wonder, to this day, where he was.
And I wonder, to this day, what would have happened if I’d just turned my head at the thingie where we entered our drinks and smiled at him.
Turn your head and smile, sisters. It may go right. It may go wrong. It could mean you’d be The One for One Night but oh, what a night. It could mean something else entirely.
But at least it won’t be a random moment in your life you want back.
PS: I found a photo of a hot cowboy to put in my blog but I don't know how to post it on this. So if you wanna see it (and trust me, you wanna see it), go to my blog at Kit's Blog.
I get a lot of mail from readers and there are a number of themes. One of them is that my gals tell me that my books have woken the Rock Chick within. They are this age or that age and reading my books makes them understand they don’t have to act their age and they can let loose and enjoy life.
This freaks me right the ef out.
What is going on out there, sistahs?
If you are acting your age, stop it right now.
First, what is acting your age? Okay, make sure you get to work on time, do a good job when you’re there, be responsible in paying your bills and looking after your loved ones and don’t be a jerk to other people.
Other than that, have the time of your life. Because you only got one and if you don’t have the time of it in this one, you’ve lost your shot.
Recently, I was in the grocery store and the woman in front of me totally freaking fascinated me. She had this wild ass, dyed brown, long hair. She had on bright, gaudy makeup. She had on this outfit that was totally whacked right the ef out. And these high heeled sandals. She had pearly nail polish on her long fingernails. She was buying a lot of generic food making it clear she couldn’t afford better but that didn’t mean she didn’t buy her generic cakes and treats. And she had a huge smile on her face and a friendly manner with the checkout lady.
And this woman had to be in her late seventies. Maybe even older. Her skin was lined. Her hands wrinkled.
And she was one of the most beautiful things I think I’ve ever seen.
She obviously didn’t have a lot of money, age was against her but by God, she was not going to give up. She was going to look good in her way of looking good and damn, but she worked it. The whole shebang was whacked but in a good way. She smiled. She got her treats. She had a pep in her step.
She… was… awesome.
I wanted to approach her and ask her for coffee or to go to the nearest pub and drink cider with me until we both had to be poured into a taxi.
I wanna be her when I grow up.
You gotta be you. And if the you you are is a you who “acts their age”, swing it, sistah! But if you got a little mini-you inside telling you that you want to let loose. You want to wear that outfit. You want to style your hair that way. You want to play your rock loud in your car. You want to dance on the bar. Freaking DO IT! Don’t let some nebulous social expectation you think folks will have about your behavior stop you. Mature to crazy hair, whacked out outfits, gaudy makeup…
And mature with a smile on your face and a pep in your step knowing you were true to you and you did not waste your time worrying about what you think you should be.