Posted in Giveaways, Poetry

Fandom Scavenger Hunt Giveaway!

Now that The Reluctant Dreamer has released in both ebook and paperback format, I figured it was time to celebrate with a giveaway!

Timothy and I are fandom nerds sometimes. Which means that sometimes we write poems with references to our fandoms. And sometimes we clean those poems up, make the references slightly more obscure, and publish them. There are no less than SIXTEEN fandom inspired poems in The Reluctant Dreamer. And we’re going to give a prize to anyone who can spot them!

The fandoms you’ll be looking for are Fullmetal Alchemist and Rise of the Guardians. There are eight poems for each. If you can guess all eight of either fandom, you’ll win a free ebook pack of all the novels Tim and I have released so far. If you can guess all sixteen, then you’ll get a free paperback copy of The Reluctant Dreamer! (If by some rare case we manage to get more than one person guessing all sixteen, then I’ll send everyone who guesses correctly a copy.)

Once you have your guess, message it to my facebook page, but be careful – there are no second tries! Don’t worry though, everyone gets a free prize out of this just for trying. After all, you need a copy of the book if you’re going to look through it for poems, don’t you? Click the link below to get your free PDF of The Reluctant Dreamer!

Get your free copy here!

Guesses are open until midnight in pacific time on April 10th, so be sure to get them in!

Posted in Poetry

The Reluctant Dreamer Sneak Peek: And I’m So Tired

I have a poetry book that will be coming out soon, so I wanted to take the chance to share a sneak peek with you all.

The Reluctant Dreamer is a collection of poetry co-written by me and my spouse. I was trying to write love poetry, but something about it felt flat. Then my spouse took a look at it, we ended up re-evaluating, and then I suddenly had a co-author. This book is essentially our love story. We’ve been through some dark and terrible nights of the soul, and it took a lot of love and acceptance to get to the point we’re at today. It’s been a journey.

Here’s the back blurb:

Love doesn’t always come as the perfect ending to a romance movie. Sometimes it comes in the middle of the darkest part of your life. At the moment you feel most lost, someone finds you, looks deeply into your soul, and whispers, “You matter.”

The Reluctant Dreamer is a collection of poems based off the real love story of the married authors. The poems show the two struggling to accept both love and themselves as they find their place in the world.

This collection of poetry uses a wide variety of both rhyming and free verse poems that fit together perfectly in a reflection of the bond between the two unique writers. The authors take a serious look into what it means to love and be loved, and show that you are never truly alone.

Enjoy the poem!

Continue reading “The Reluctant Dreamer Sneak Peek: And I’m So Tired”

Posted in Writing For Revolution

Writing Can Change the World

As a writer who started life as a reader, I grew up alongside heroes. I devoured each Harry Potter as soon as it hit shelves, I journeyed through wardrobes and to Mordor. I saw ordinary people tasked with facing down tremendous, terrifying evil and not being sure how they were going to make it, but knowing they had to try. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I wanted to be like these characters. They handled things that I didn’t think I could handle, and they always made everything right in the end.

Then, I reached my adulthood years and things got a lot more complicated for me. I spent the time from when I was nineteen to twenty-three as homeless, a total of nearly five years overall. I stayed in shelters, mental wards, hopping from room to room found via craigslist, and at one dark point, spending several nights sleeping on public transit trains that ran all night. Through all of it, I tried to remember my favorite characters. Many of them were technically homeless, after all. Many of them went through the same struggles for food and a warm shower. Stories kept me strong through my darkest nights. I was always pushing myself to be a little more like my favorite characters and a little less like the fragile image I had of myself.

I’m not homeless anymore, but I’m seeing dark times around me again. I can honestly say that the news scares me on an almost daily basis by this point. I’m seeing fights around me almost everywhere I go, and I live in a fairly liberal city.

Now, I’m not someone with money, and I’m not someone comfortable in the crowds that come with rallies. But as I watch my friends protest and donate and give everything to making their message known, I’m sometimes stuck wondering “What can I do?” And that’s when I remember the characters that kept me alive through my homelessness.

I don’t say that lightly or as an exaggeration, either. These characters literally gave me a chance to step away from my life and be someone better and stronger. They helped me to know what was really important when it feels like the world is against you. They taught me that right is almost never easy.

This is why I write. Writing not only keeps me sane, but I know from firsthand experience that it can keep readers sane as well. Reading a good book can make you feel like you’re not alone, and show you what’s important in the world. It’s so easy when I’m not getting many reviews or sales to feel like I’m just putting my work out into a void where it doesn’t affect anyone or do anything. Maybe you’ve felt like that too, whether you’re published or not. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. Even small books can have a profound impact on a person. I can feel myself change and grow with every book I read, and it’s why I plan on reading until my dying day.

Your book is a chance to teach the world your truth, to show people what you see as worth fighting for. Right now, I think this is especially important, and with the advent of indie publishing, it’s amazing how we can now give the public the less popular, less conventional stories. We can dare to challenge the world with our stories and not have gatekeepers telling us “no” anymore.

I might not have money to donate, or feel comfortable at a protest, but I can give my words to this planet. I plan to not only write, but to write with the conscious intent to change the world. I hope you’ll join me.

This is the first of several blog posts I’m going to be writing about how to write for revolution. I’ll be talking about things like how to create diverse books, or how to have message with intent in your story. I don’t consider myself a master of all writing, but I do honestly and wholeheartedly believe that writing can change our world for the better. I’ll be posting these weekly on Saturdays (knock on wood)! If you have any subjects you would like to hear about, feel free to comment or email me and I would be happy to cover them in a future post. Thank you all for reading, and please, stay strong and take care of yourselves.

Posted in Uncategorized

Writing Reviews That Help Readers AND Writers

As an author, it can be hard when approaching the concept of reviews. You know that other authors need them, crave them, but it’s also terrifying to sit down at a keyboard and actually type one up. What if you insult them and burn a potential networking connection? What if you say the wrong thing? How can you be the right blend of informative and not soul-crushing?

At least, that’s my process when I start thinking about reviewing a book.

This is why I came up with a slightly formulaic approach to writing reviews. It allows me to feel a little less like I’m just pulling star ratings out of a hat and feel more like authors have honestly earned the ratings I give them. It also gives my reviews a nice consistent feel, which is good for readers and friends who may actually trust my opinion.

I always see the occasional post by someone who is intimidated by reviews asking, “What makes a good review? How do I do this? Help!” So, I figured I would share my own approach, cultivated from several different methods. It works for me. It may or may not work for you, but at least you’ll have seen a different approach.

So without further ado, here are my steps to building the perfect review:

Continue reading “Writing Reviews That Help Readers AND Writers”

Posted in Uncategorized

Introductions Are in Order

You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogs, it’s that you have to actually have blog entries for it to be a blog in the first place. And if you’re going to start putting up entries of this and that and the other all over a blog, it’s generally wisest to at least start with some sort of introduction. Well, at least, better for the writer. Gives us a sense of starting and all that, rather than just jumping blindly into the middle of something.

So I figure, it’s about time I write an introductory post and get this blog actually rolling. I may or may not have a slight fear of introductions, but there comes a time when a writer eventually has to put his foot down. Or in this century, his phone. My foot and phone have both been put down, and this is my introductory post.

My name is Theodore Ashford if you haven’t already noticed. Most of the time, I go by Theo. Unless my last name gets involved; then it’s always Theodore. I’m kind of picky like that, I suppose.

I’m a writer. I’ve been writing since my teens, plus even a little before that, though my early work mostly consisted of picture book horses. My teen years were when I started getting serious and started trying to write every single day. I started with fanfiction, then moved on to doing National Novel Writing Month, then started taking writing classes in college, and finally released a book on Amazon. I would write the rest of my biography, but I don’t know it yet.

I’m someone who strongly believes in the value of fanfiction, as well as the merits of self-publishing. Probably partly due to the fact that my own professional career is steeped in both, but also because I’ve spent a long time analyzing the pros and cons of both. I’m also a fan of the theory that speed and quality don’t have to be exclusive to each other, which I know is due to my years of NaNoWriMo.

So what will I be posting here? I mostly plan on posting entries in regards to writing, either as a reference for writers who are looking to figure out their own process, or for readers who want insight into the process behind the magic. I’ll also be posting the occasional book review, mostly with the idea of analyzing a piece of writing as an author looking to better my own work.

And every now and then, I also plan on sharing sneak peeks at novels of mine that will be coming out in the future, or even just standalone short stories and poems that I don’t see working in a future collection.

I also have a spouse who’s involved in writing, and tends to be my partner and editor on certain projects, so you might see them coming in with guest posts from time to time as well.

Anyway, that’s about it. If that seems like something interesting to you, then by all means stick around. I’m certainly looking forward to all the cool stuff I have in store for you!