03-23-19 – Paty Jager – All Feelings Are Universal

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Gift of Christmas

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance.
My usual writing process is a story starts appearing in my night and day dreams. I see the characters in various settings. I hear them talk to each other. So when I sit down to write, the story just flows. However, there have been a couple of times when I’ve veered from that process.

First Love is a short story in The Gift of Christmas Windtree Press anthology. Of course I knew the history of Ashley Ann Carlyle, who becomes the heroine of her own story in The Sacred Women’s Circle series. And originally Christmas didn’t figure into it at all.

However, I really wanted to be in this anthology which is why I deviated from my process.

What did I do?

I’d already written a rough draft of how Ashley and Art Kenner met, her family dynamics and their courtship including her stance on her voice being heard and respected and being a partner in the relationship. Since in the original story Art proposes in the spring, obviously not suitable for The Gift of Christmas theme, I rearranged the story line so that Art proposes on Christmas Eve.

However, First Love turns out to be a “Happily For Now” story. When you read Ashley, Book Four in The Sacred Women’s Circle series, you learn those promises Art made that Christmas Eve were not kept.

While First Love is about the promise of a future of love and laughter.

Ashley: Dragonflies and Dreams is about her journey to accept and love her physical self in a new way. And to learn to trust that the new her with inner and outer scars is lovable and deserves a future of love and laughter.

The Gift of Christmas contains 12 short stories by 12 different authors. Anthologies in general and The Gift of Christmas in particular are excellent ways to get to know a new-to-you author. It is available at all major e-retailers. Your local book store and library can also order a print copy for you.

Ashley: Dragonflies and Dreams is also available at all major e-retailers. And, yes, your local books story and library can also order print copies for you.

Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 

© 2018 Judith Ashley


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Looks like a cool project, Judith! Do you find writing short stories to be a different kind of process than novels?

Judith Ashley said...

Lynn, Writing short stories is harder for me at times as I "write long." So containing the scope of the project is what has worked with the shorts I've written thus far. In terms of the actual process of the day/night dreams, hearing voices, that hasn't changed. Shifting the time frame of "First Love" was a challenge in that I had to review the entire story to make sure everything fit in with the new time frame. Certainly doable...and my desire to be a part of the project helped enormously.

Sarah Raplee said...

Knowing that Ashley and Art's love would not last made reading "First Love" in The Gift of Christmas bittersweet for me, but I still enjoyed the story. Ashley's story in the Sacred Women's Circle Series is heart-wrenching and ultimately joyous and triumphant as she earns her Happily-Ever-After against the odds.

Judith Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing your perspective, Sarah. It was bittersweet to write also because I'd written the prequel After I wrote her story. However, she shows up in Ashley, married and with kids so...there was a relationship, husband somewhere in her past. Thinking about what would she want in a relationship, what kind of man would she marry, what could go wrong so that the love and hope they started out with died? I actually used an aspect from my own marriage when my husband walked away (not as in a divorce but out of the house) every time I got sick. He didn't want to be around me, help me, take care of our son. It wasn't ever anything we talked about either so I'm not sure what was underneath it all other than I know he was very ill as a child and hospitalized for months. And that's how one of my life experiences became the foundation for Ashley.

Maggie Lynch said...

I love learning these little tidbits. I didn't know that about the connection between the short story and the novel. It shows how scattered my mind is.

I've never been good at writing prequels. I guess that once a story starts and finishes, I'm only interested in what happens next. So, I admire your ability to have done that even knowing what happened already in Ashley's story.

I love hearing people's process because each of us are sooooo different.

Judith Ashley said...

Maggie, my original plan in writing the prequels was to use them as "Free" downloads to entice people to read the novel. However, some prequels pretty much wrote themselves and a couple of them didn't so...a project never finished. The other reason I wrote them is to focus on writing short. A few years back Romancing The Genres had a spin-off Free Reads From The Genre-istas. I also wrote for that. While I write shorter fiction, I'm no where near the 50 - 60K word mark but I'm under 100K!

And I'm always interested in other writer's processes. Can't say I've changed mine in several years but as a curious person, I love knowing how people work.