6-22 The Fascinating 1920s with Lauri Robinson

Friday, January 4, 2019

Best Book(s) I've Read in 2018 by Judith Ashley

Starting off 2019 with a blog post on The Best Book I’ve Read in 2018 has been harder for me than it might appear. All I need to do is write about the book I most remember reading. Right?

However as an author, I write first and read second. There are times, especially at the end of a day at the computer, I don’t really remember the gist of the story or even the author’s name. Another issue is I can get stuck in “editor” mode which means I lose the story because I’m focused on story structure or things like grammar, punctuation, etc.
And then when I try to remember what I’ve read, those fiction books most likely in the romance genre, even though I’ve read at least fifty of them… .
So, I’m throwing all that out the window because there is one book I do clearly remember reading. Non-fiction Verbalize by Damon Suede. Mr. Suede gave a Master Class before the Emerald City Writer’s Conference. He is a dynamic, energized presenter and I’ve always learned something useful to me when I’ve heard him before.
This Master Class did not disappoint. When I learned that his book Verbalize was based almost verbatim on the Class, I snatched it up. Yep, that was me brushing past people in order to grab one of the remaining copies he still had.
If you have a chance to attend a Damon Suede workshop for writers, do. His style is fast paced and that is usually a turn off for me. But, and that’s a big “but” I always come away with something that is a gift to my writer-self.
What were those gifts from his ECWC Master Class?
Gift #1: Being true to myself and what I write. Readers can’t find my books if I don’t clearly tell them what I write. And I write in a sub-genre of romance that isn’t listed on any of the search engine. Pagan Spirituality is a core theme in my books.
Gift #2: Defining myself. A question Mr. Suede asked us had to do with the energy that is our essence. A bit paraphrased the question was what verb describes you? My answer was immediate “teaching.”  At one point in my life I was a public school’s classroom teacher. I’ve a long history of presenting workshops at conferences both national and internationally. I’m on the Senior Teaching Faculty of The William GlasserInstitute – International. And the characters in my stories are always learning something to ease their path to that happily-ever-after. Of course the process of learning isn’t necessarily easy. But where would the joy of overcoming an obstacle be if it was all easy and effortless.
Fiction? In writing Visions of Happiness a character that first shows up in Diana: The Queen of Swords and The Knight of Pentacles actually becomes a recurring character a couple of years earlier in Visions. That fact prompted me to reread all of the original series, rewrite the paragraph or two in Diana to show Ms. Lawford was someone they all knew.

To my delight, I found myself emotionally involved with these seven women. I still laughed and cried along with them and I was the one who’d written their stores and read the drafts more than once!

A fiction reading first for me was Blindsight by Sarah Raplee. Blindsight is a paranormal romantic suspense and not a sub-genre of romance I read. However, I know Sarah and had listened to her talk about writing this book. I can highly recommend Blindsight. Well-written, enough suspense to keep me engaged but not so much I had nightmares. The paranormal elements were well-done and, to me at least, possible.
Another author I read is Paty Jager. I’ve read several of her Shandra Higheagle mysteries and many of her other books. Paty is meticulous in her research which is one fact that draws me to her stories.
And I’m ending this post with a swing back to non-fiction. Maggie Lynch’sAuthor Secrets” series is a Must Read for any author who is independently published or for any author who is struggling with the decision to publish independently. In clear language Ms. Lynch guides authors through the plethora of options and challenges they face to get their books published and to optimize their discoverability and thus their visibility. Ms. Lynch stays abreast of publishing trends and updates readers through her newsletter, blog posts and workshops.
Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic women’s fiction that honors pagan spiritual practices that nourish the soul. Sacred women’s circles are havens where each of us have the support of the  unconditional acceptance, support and love of the others that sustain us as we overcome obstacles on our life's journey.
Learn more about Judith's The Sacred Women’s Circle series at JudithAshleyRomance.com

Follow Judith on Twitter: JudithAshley19

Check out Judith’s Windtree Press author page.

You can also find Judith on FB! 

© 2019 Judith Ashley


Marcia King-Gamble said...

I've been dying to see and hear Damon Suede in action. Unfortunately he had to cancel when the Florida Romance Writers annual cruise date was changed. Had I know he was at the Emerald City Conference (a favorite of mine and one I haven't been to in years) I would have made it. Unlike you, Judith I love a presenter who is fast-paced. I really enjoyed this post.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great post, Judith. I'm looking forward to seeing Damon Suede when he comes to Alaska next fall!

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Marcia. Glad you liked the post.

And, Damon is doing a special presentation in June for the Desert Rose Chapter, Marcia, in case you want to be in Scotsdale, AZ the middle of June.

Judith Ashley said...

Lynn, Thanks for stopping by. I know you'll enjoy Damon. I hadn't been to ECWC in several years. He was the deciding factor.

Will this be a closed presentation or open to other writers/authors? Who knows, I may want to see Alaska (a state I've always wanted to visit).

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for your kind words about my book, Judith.

Damon Suede is definitely a dynamic and knowledgeable presenter. I'll have to pick up Verbalize!

Judith Ashley said...

My words may be seen by you as "kind" Sarah, but I see them as true. Would not have mentioned "Blindsight" if it wasn't a well-written good story. And, I know you did your research!

Paty Jager said...

Judith, What a great array of books that you liked! And thank you for the kind words about my Shandra Higheagle series. I'm happy dancing today. It was the release of book 12 in the series and one of my ARC readers put up the best review! It is the reason I write mystery books. You had a great year of publishing in 2018 and I foresee an even better 2019 for you!

Judith Ashley said...

Paty, Thanks for stopping by. Love that Book 12 released today. I didn't remember that when I wrote and posted this. I just really like your writing/story-telling.

Maggie Lynch said...

Great post, Judith. I'll have to check out Damon Suede's book. I haven't seen him speak, though I have heard of his dynamic presentations from others.

I also love both Blindsight and Paty Jager's Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. Great writing and characters in both of those.

I find I have less and less time to read, and that is a problem I hope to correct in 2019. I've always been a reader and fiction is my favorite. But the past five years or so, I've been stuck on nonfiction. I need to change it up once in a while.

Thanks for the shout out on my Career Author Secrets series. Like you, I've been a teacher in the past and have done a lot of workshops and still do them occasionally. This series was really a way for me to encapsulate all the workshops I teach and to put it into three books that I can update as the publishing world changes.

So many good books, so little time. When you learn how to split yourself into ore than one person in order to get more done, please do let me know. :)

Judith Ashley said...


I think one of the blessings of running out of energy by late-afternoon is that my choices are watching t.v. or reading. Of course there is always the option of doing some light housework - oh, that couch or recliner seems to be calling me.

When you read "Verbalize" you'll have a real sense of Damon Suede's energy level. It leaps off the page, at least it does for me.

Sarah and I also appreciate your annual "What's New in Publishing" post you do for us every December. That's another reason I have a bit more time to read - you are keeping up with the trends.

Will certainly let you know when I've figured out how to either clone myself or split into at least two people. One can write and one can do the promo/marketing and one can keep up with family and friends and daily routine. Okay, I'm at 3...and each would have a more relaxed daily pace?