A Note of Thanks

ANOTEOFTHANKS

I took some time in between projects last night to reflect on my writing journey. Just how had I gotten here, a finished book in hand, waiting eagerly to share it with the readers in my advanced reader group, The Hundred and eventually... the world? 

 The e-ARC Cover for Blood, Ink & Fire, designed by Olivia Robinson.

The e-ARC Cover for Blood, Ink & Fire, designed by Olivia Robinson.

Rewind.

 Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Valletta, the capital of Malta.

About one year ago I was in a very different place. Literally. I was living and working in Malta, a tiny island off the coast of Italy. I had been there for several years working long hours in a start-up and had set aside writing (for myself) in pursuit of “other things”. My novel, Blood, Ink & Fire, which is now complete, copy edited, proofread, e-printed, and waiting eagerly for The Hundred, had not even been written yet.

So how did I get here?

I think the change came when I decided to accept that I wasn't really happy and that what I needed was to get back to the words. Truth be told, I needed a little help. It had been a few years since I wrote anything for myself, since I’d been paid to write consistently for other people, brands, and companies. I had adopted their messages, their stories, and their voices. I got to be pretty good at it, too.

But where was my voice? I didn’t know and probably deep down I was a little afraid that it had left me.

So I plucked up my courage, as writers do, and told myself I would find it, that both my voice and the story I needed to tell were still there somewhere. I got myself online, made a little Instagram account (something I’d avoided out of a strange fear of social media), and started getting aquatinted with it. That’s when things started happening.

I found kindred spirits on Instagram. People I could relate to. Fellow writers and readers that seemed to be, miraculously, just like me. And that was cool, because I had convinced myself that such meaningful connections could never really be built through social media, despite the name.

After I found the people, I found my story. I started planning. Then, I started writing. I was off!

 One of my first word count milestones reached for Blood, Ink & Fire. From Instagram 2014. 

One of my first word count milestones reached for Blood, Ink & Fire. From Instagram 2014. 

The journey was swift. People cared about the world I was creating. They were curious about the story. This was incredibly validating, and spurred me on to keep writing, over evenings and weekends, through career fluxes, life changes, upheavals and everything else in between. In short, the community of kindred spirits helped me keep making the choice I had made at the outset: they helped me put aside “other things” and just write.

 One of many location reveals for Blood, Ink & Fire.

One of many location reveals for Blood, Ink & Fire.

As I look back now, my finished book in hand, ready for the wonderful minds of The Hundred readers, I can’t help but get a little teary-eyed. I have come so far, it feels, and changed so much in just one year. Whatever happens next for Blood, Ink & Fire, I feel I have to say this loud and clear right now to all the readers, book-lovers, fangirls, bookstagrammers, and fellow writers who stuck with me over this incredible, wonderful, amazing, challenging last year…

THANK YOU!

 The Blood, Ink & Fire e-ARC on the Kindle Paper White.

The Blood, Ink & Fire e-ARC on the Kindle Paper White.

Without your support, your unwavering encouragement, your unconquerable enthusiasm, I suspect I would have never gotten this far. You’ve cheered me on, you’ve rooted for me, you’ve kept me going when, frankly, I was ready to let those “other things” start creeping in. You’ve carried me to the end, open-armed, with kindness, acceptance, and love. And now maybe, just maybe, with a little bit more of all those things, my end will become a beginning and Blood, Ink & Fire will be the first of many books I will send out into the wild.

Thank you, to all of you out there who have been on this journey with me. I am forever grateful.

With love,

Ashley