New Home #movingblogs

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Hi everyone my author and Stitch Says blogs now have a new home!!!!

http://ahowland.org/wordpress/

Here you can find everything. It’s still a working process, but all the blogs and comments are there. You can link to other social media and still enjoy my blogs!

Author Ashley Howland

Author Ashley Howland

Thank you for joining me here – I look forward to seeing everyone commenting on my new site. As always have fun!

My newest heroes #amwriting #labslife

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Just wanted to share my next two heroes. Super Stitch with the super sniffer and the humungous heart! Plus his little sidekick Chewie who is proving to have a big personality!

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They will have their own roles to play in a host of different stories. The best thing about these boys as heroes is they are completely different. They are their own characters. Just as Obi was. That means I get so much material – just need the time to write it all!

Next blog will start to put all our planning together with a plot – so stay tuned and of course have fun!

Character fun #amwriting

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We have our villain. Now we need our hero. Someone who will stop at nothing to save the day… Any volunteers????

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Thanks Obi and of course a very little Stitch learning from his hero. Obi was the perfect hero. He was creative, intelligent, athletic, inquisitive and would stop at nothing. All good things. Did he have a weakness??? I guess all heroes need some sort of weakness to overcome. In Stitch’s case it would be his sooky nature, he is very cautious – which can also be a good thing. Obi however if he had a weakness I would say it was doing first, thinking later. A trait I am seeing in the young Chewbacca here!

Some interesting things to think about when creating a hero. Make sure they have their own battles too. It gives your readers a chance to relate. Which means they could achieve some of these amazing things too. Always good if the reader can feel heroic too!

Heroes can come in any shape or form. The limit is of course your imagination. That means there is no limit!!! Go forth and create the perfect hero! Love to see what you come up with – have fun!

Creating characters #childrensbooks

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I am lucky in that I live with four wonderful creative beings who help me create characters. My girls and my dogs are a never-ending source of material. They each have personality traits that are fantastic. I even keep note books to jot things down. To create a complete character you need lots of different traits.

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For example Chewie is new to our family. He is developing his own little character, but I see elements of Obi and Stitch in him. I like to find similarities between characters. This might be why they get along or in the case of a sibling relationship why they fight. Differences in personality are sometimes more important. If you have two characters in mind you can list and compare. That’s an interesting exercise.

Characters can be developed from the setting or the story can evolve from a character. I like to create characters no matter what story I have in mind. That way a new adventure can grow or this character can change one of your other stories. My advice is keep everything. You never know when you will use it. Write every little detail even if it seems insignificant. These little factors will be what sets your character apart from the others. For example Obi (my old lab) was a special character himself. What set him apart from other dogs was his amazing self-confidence. He honestly, but never arrogantly believe all was right in the world as long as he was around. There certainly is a big hole now he is gone. Still his memories live on and the world is a better place for having had him in it! When I write Obi’s stories I always focus on his self belief. He was also set apart because unlike other dog characters who do human things he did dog things, but I guess for human reasons. It’s a small distinction, but one that I think really makes my Obi series!

So go ahead, create a cool character and see where they take you! As always have fun!

The First Christmas #merrychristmas

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I love Christmas – everything about it. The stories, the songs, the tree, the whole magic of the day. I have loved having the girls because I get to make Christmas magic the way I always wanted it. I have been through my family traditions before so won’t do that again. Needless to say the beer (not opened – no drunk Santa’s driving), the homemade choc chip cookies, the carrots and the water are ready. As is the magic key… we are all set for that all important sleigh landing!

So I thought I would share some very important first Christmas photos. The first is our special boy – Obi. This will be the first for a long time without him. We miss our boy, but he still brings joy to us with our memories and of course all those wonderful stories he left us with. His first Christmas was in 2002!

Obi

Then came my Little Man Stitch (2010). He is not a brave dog, but he has a heart of gold and a never-ending energy tank. Super Stitch will run all day and as such is in my superhero stories and of course is never far from his girls!

Stitch

Now we get to the little fella – Chewbacca (Chewie). He has so far shown us to be calmly confident and he loves the girls. He also loves Stitch. It is going to be lots of fun learning what his role in our lives and my stories will be. However for now e is just plain cute!

zChewie

I hope everyone has a magical Christmas – keep believing and always have fun!

Anthology Antics #chaboocha1

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Today I thought I’d share the Anthologies I have been privileged enough to have stories in:

The first is Teapot Tales:
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This is a great collection of really unusual fairy tales. My stories were inspired by my girls. The first is Snow White and the Pirates… Many of you may remember my now 6-year-old had this inspiration as her fifth birthday cake – Snow White and the seven smurfs on a pirate ship:
Snow White and the 7 smurfs on a Pirate Ship
Naturally this had to become a story – I am actually thinking about extending it into a chapter book?
My second story in this anthology is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin… I love that fairy tale, but what if it went wrong?

The second Anthology is Jingle Bells Tales of the Holiday Spirit:
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This is a great collection for this time in the year, my girls are really enjoying listening to the stories. My two stories are lots of fun. The first is an episode (if you like) from Maddy and Aijay’s Magical Adventures. This time with Stitch and their fairy friend Fidget they travel to their magical land in search of Santa’s naughty or nice list….
M and A

The second is a Lightning Lilly and Princess Seea Adventure. This time Captain Obi sends the super girls and super Stitch to the North Pole. Rudolph has gone missing and it’s a foggy Christmas Eve… Will they find him in time???
stitch color

The final anthology from the Chapter Book Challenge (Chaboocha) is the SuperHERo Tales:
Cover_final by Julia Lela Stilchen ebook
This anthology was inspired by the need to have more empowering female superheros. It was actually the anthology that lead me to develop Lightning Lilly and Princess Seea. My girls helped me and they designed the perfect super hero versions of themselves. So much fun had here. This will become a chapter book series… just need to get time to write, but the ideas are endless. In this adventure they discover their favourite animals – otters have been stolen from the zoo.
Captain Obi
Princess Seea and Super Stitch
Lightning Lilly

All of these anthologies are available on amazon… If you are local to me and want a copy please contact me.

The final Anthology for the year is the Charms Volume 1: This was so much fun. My charm was the dolphin and once again it is a story that will be included in Maddy and Aijay’s Magical Adventures. It has everything from fairies to pirates. I really enjoyed this one.
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I have some copies of this one for sale, contact me if you are interested.

These anthologies were a new thing to me this year, but so much fun. I have always been a team player so it was great to write as a team member…. I look forward to completing more of these next year. I even have a cool idea for a couple myself. More on that in the new year. Until next time – have fun!

Ticking the Boxes #amwriting #amediting

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I had some pretty big goals at the beginning of the year. They actually got bigger as the year went on, but I have managed to achieve a few. Which is great considering how amazing I am at the art of procrastination….

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I try to stay focused, but usually I get distracted by new ideas. It is amazing that editing one piece can simply lead to new ideas. Anyway this year I have managed to get The Homework Goblin published, hold a book launch, have stories in four different anthologies, keep up with my interviews and reviews on the Stitch Says blog and finally edit two manuscripts. I have also completed one more first draft and am hopeful to do an edit before the year ends. During this time I have also come up with an idea for another series and the extension of my Obi the Super Puppy series. Not bad for a year, especially considering writing is my hobby. So I guess I haven’t wasted too much time doing this…

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That may change in 2014 as we get Chewie and puppies are the biggest time wasters ever. Still they also provide lots of material. I am going to have so much writing fun next year. However this year is not over yet. I still have time to achieve a few more goals. Plus I need to set myself up for next year. I am looking forward to getting organised, there are so many things I want to achieve. This year added more than I could have imagined so bring it all on! Can’t wait. So how are you all going with your goals – getting there, achieved some, done the lot??? Would love to hear – until next time, have fun!

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