Wednesday, August 1, 2018

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY MIRAGE

I can't even believe it's been 5 years since I finished and published Mirage, the start of The Destined Series.  If you've followed me all this time, you know how emotional and important story this was for me to write ...



What you may not have known ... this story changed my life.  I published Mirage in August 2013, received my 1st royalty check in October and had to quit my job.  My youngest son had ODD/ADD/ADHD and was constantly needing my assistance at school.  The opportunity for me to work a full time job and be with him as needed wasn't an option.  He had to come first, and because of this one book, I was able to still earn an income AND be the mom Brady needed me to be.

Now, here we are, 5 years later ... the market's changed, stories have changed, wants are different, marketing is insane, posts are hidden, sales are down ... and even with all that, I'm still so beyond honored and blessed to be a part of your lives.  Every time I hear someone say they liked one of my books, I still get the chills.  You've all given me a huge blessing and for you, I'm eternally grateful.

So, the entire month of August, in celebration of Mirage and The Destined Series turning 5, I'm giving you ALL FIVE BOOKS for 99 cents!!!  There will be giveaways, prizes and deleted scenes!!!

Get ready babes ... it's going down for real!!!


Grab your 99 cent copy NOW or download for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!!!  Keep an eye on my author page for PRIZES!!!!

Monday, July 30, 2018

ONCE BITTEN IS ON SALE!!!

Once Bitten, a NEW ADULT (not PNR) love story is on sale for 99 cents or #Free with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription!!!

If you're into love triangles, twists, turns, falling for your boyfriend's brother, sassy heroines and dirty mouthed heroes ...

READ ME!!!!


Here's the link to the ebook:  https://amzn.to/2K7eCsF

Monday, June 25, 2018

When An Author Loses Her Mojo

By the grace of God, we live in an era where we can stalk our favorite authors on a plethora of platforms.  We know what Author A is writing next, what Author B is plotting, what Author C is surprising her kids with over summer break ... we get to see inside the lives of the women who work tirelessly to change our lives. 

With all that being said, there's something you don't get to see when seeking out the wordsmiths who inspire us to bigger, brighter and better ... the struggle.

Sure, we see the "OMG I have writer's block and need a change of location" posts or the "these kids are driving me mad and I need to get away" status updates ... or even the "can we get a writing retreat to reboot my creative juices" notifications.  That's not the struggle I'm talking about, friends.  And I'm going to share a little personal with you guys, if you're even reading, because a good friend told me when I can't write to save my life, start by writing whatever is in your heart just to get it out.  It might be shit, it might not be, but the end game is still the same ... just keep writing.

Here's the struggle I'm facing ... and the struggle of some of my very amazing friends who, again by the Grace of God, I can commiserate with ... but I think the readers need this insight too.  As an avid reader myself (and hella fan girl), I know how waiting on a book in a series you love can drive one insane.  How a pushed release date can push you to the brink of insanity.  How the need for the words that resonate so much in your soul overpowers your desire to appear "normal" ... whatever normal is anymore.  

Before I dive all the way in, let me preface the rest of this long winded story with this ... I'm not editing this ... I probably won't read it all the way through a 2nd time before hitting publish.  This isn't for you to judge my writing skill or technique ... this is for me to "Just keep writing" and to show you the darker, painful, emotionally damaging side to being a creative mind in a world where authors are only a click away ... I love you nonetheless, though.  Bear with me ... I promise you'll understand soon ...

And here we go ...

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a mediocre mother who had a dream far bigger than her anxiety riddled mind would allow her to travel.  Until, that is, one day a group of women she found in a reader's group for one of our favorite authors, encouraged this Average Ashley to step outside the box and give it a shot.

She wrote a book.  Nearly 70,000 words that consisted of sleepless nights, carpal tunnel, hunger strikes, binge eating, headaches, backaches and a high she'd never felt before.  Outside of being a mother and wife, she found an identity that was only about her, and it was fantastic.

Yes, friends, that Average Ashley is really just me ... Ashley Suzanne.  The day I published Mirage (August 25, 2013), I was working at a small real estate brokerage, making $12 an hour and just going through the motions.  I had nothing outside of my family life that was my own.  I had no true identity.  Ashley Suzanne (yes, it's my real name LOL) was born and I had something that was all mine.  Like most mothers I know, I don't do things for me ... I can't.  Literally cannot.  Everything I have ... every. single. thing ... is for my kids and husband.  But, right then, the day that book went live, Ashley Suzanne was a little alter ego that I had where I could just be me ... and I loved every second of it.

I loved it so damn much, I spent the next 12 months doing nothing but writing and publishing ... writing and publishing ... writing and publishing.  In a period of 1 year (nearly to the day), I wrote and published 7 different books.  5 in the series that started with Mirage and 2 stand alone novels (Raven and Calling Card).  I was on fire.  My bank account was on fire.  My anxiety was down.  My self esteem was skyrocketing.  Everyone was happy and I had virtually no worries in this world.  I got an agent, made amazing friends, traveled around the country signing books in places I never thought I'd go.  My kids were proud.  So was my mom, which, y'all already know ... is what made it all worth it.  In 12 months, I went from the pregnant high school senior drop out with absolutely no future (in society's eyes, not my mama.  Never my mama) to someone who was driven, successful, powerful, sometimes wealthy and ... happy.  Happy in a way I'd never been happy before.  

I decided to slow down a bit, not wanting to get burnt out.  The fall of 2014, I decided instead of publishing 3 novels like I initially planned, I'd do 3 novellas and tie them all together, since that seemed like all the rage at the time.  I plotted out Claimed and found the perfect spots to break them down to get 3 stories to release 30 days apart.  It was perfect, especially when I decided to sit and write the entire, full length novel first and plan publishing for the future.  I was going to have my holiday season for just me and my family without the pressure of having to write to beat deadlines.  I had it all figured out ...

Until Claim Volume 1 didn't do so hot.  Not has good as I thought it would, being an already established author.  It was okay.  I'd have Claim Volume 2 income ... only, I didn't.  It did worse than the 1st.  And Claim Volume 3 ... I sometimes forget it exists at all, so I can't expect y'all to know about it.  

I licked my wounds, chalked it up to a crappy market at the holidays.  If I'm wanting to escape the book world and spend quality time with my family, everyone else must want to do the same.  I kept my chin up, smiled on, started playing with my next project and celebrated the holidays.  January 2015, I combined the serials into a box set and released it as a whole novel.  Nada.  No dice.  Which was weird to me ... those who read it and promoted it like crazy (yes, friends, through all this, I had one helluva support system ... still do <3) loved this book in a way they didn't love my other stuff.  I was progressing as a writer.  They could see it and so could I.  I was only getting better, so why wasn't I selling better?  I refused to dwell on it, and just kept writing ...

That April, I went to a book signing in LONDON!!!!  I couldn't believe it ... little old me.  I'm not really from a small town, but it sure does feel like it.  We don't travel.  We don't leave the country.  We don't have anything even remotely famous.  We were just ... us.  But here I was, walking the same roads as some of the greatest minds in the world.  Standing only feet from places that held some of the most powerful people in the world.  Breathing the same air as actual, literal royalty.  Feeling a sense of history and nostalgia I'd never known.  All because of this crazy dream I had ... this is where it had taken me.  

So, excuse the language friends ... fuck the shitty sales.  Fuck the lack of reviews.  Fuck the near empty bank account ... I was with my FRIENDS, with my DREAM ... in FUCKING LONDON!!!! 

Then, shit hit the entire fan.  2 of my blogger friends and I were asked by one of our favorite authors (and at the time very good friend) to help with the planning, inviting of authors, talking with the readers ... all the fun stuff!  She knew London.  We knew readers and authors.  We were going to make this one of the best events the world had ever seen.  And in return for our help, she was going to pay for our flights and we'd get 1 big hotel room for all of us, since the 3 of us couldn't really afford a trip, especially without our families, of that magnitude.  Of course we jumped at the chance.

Then came London.  I told you the good before I told you the bad for a reason, friends.  Because for a very long time, I couldn't think back on this 10 days of pure hell without feeling a sense of despair I'd never felt.  I couldn't remember the amazing because it was clouded with a crippling fear caused by someone I trusted with everything I had.  For almost 3 whole years, I was held captive by the ugly and couldn't see the beautiful.  I can now, thank God, but I needed to tell you how grateful and honored and humbled I was to be where I was before I get to where my struggle really began.

Somehow, someway ... our event did not come together the way we dreamed.  It was a mess of the worst kind.  Money was missing.  Promised items were not delivered.  Half the time, the woman behind the curtain was nowhere to be found, leaving the face of the event (me and my blogger buddies, since we had all the communication with everyone) to bear the brunt of the frustration and anger from the readers and authors, rightfully so.  It hurt.  Bad.  Everyone assumed we all took part in the shitastic clusterfuck ... eventually we were able to tell our story, but for a week, we weren't able to do that ...

Why, you ask, could we not immediately clear our names?!?  Because all 3 of our flights were booked under our friend's credit card and she decided to leave us in a foreign country alone while she went home to go into hiding in the States.  We were terrified she would cancel our tickets and we'd be stranded.  She did hold up that end of the bargain, though.  Our flights were paid for, but our hotel ... we were calling home to scrounge up money from relatives to pay the tab that wasn't paid but promised.  And even still, that's nowhere near as bad as how she did the readers who put food on our table or the authors who have become like family ... she screwed everyone, and then disappeared.  

When I finally got home and was able to process everything that happened, I spent what felt like the rest of 2015 clearing my name.  Wanna know what I wasn't doing?!  Writing.  I couldn't.  

2015 came and went, and I only published 2 books.  One of which was finished in 2014 when my dear friend Missy Johnson and I signed a traditional deal with Penguin Random House, and they published our first co-written work in May of that year.  Only 1 indie novel was published.  Both of which flopped.  

My heart was broken.

I decided January 1, 2016, I was going to do better and get back to what I loved most ... but I didn't.  The market was shifting rapidly and I felt like I was falling through the cracks.  I wasn't publishing enough to stay relevant, and those thoughts only cripple creativity.  2 more books released in 2016.

Cutter released, as a follow up to Raven, the book that put the most money in my bank account.  It was published through Penguin Random House as well ... it should have done amazing.  I wrote it quickly and was in love ... my publisher wasn't happy with it.  Scrapped the whole thing.  I had to rewrite a story I wasn't feeling.  It wasn't their fault, it wasn't mine.  Their idea of the novel wasn't what I had in mind, but I made them a promise and I did fulfill that promise.  The book flopped, though.  Badly.  Still, to this day, it's had the lowest number of sales.  

Missy and I tried our hand at writing under a pen name.  We published Slow Grind under the name Eva Spencer.  It flopped too.  But, hey, it didn't flop as bad as when we pulled it from Eva and published as us two.  Great story, terrible market.

I thought my heart was broken before ... clearly, I didn't know what a broken heart felt like until this moment.  

There comes a moment when every author has to ask herself if it's all worth it.  At any time before when I'd ask myself exactly this, it always was.  The market would rebound.  The reader's tastes would switch.  I'd find the next big thing.  And then you realize, it's not the market.  It's not the readers.  It's not anything other than ... you.  You're the problem.  

I was the problem.  

I was throwing in the towel.  

I was done.  

I got 3 years in an industry I never imagined I'd have ... it was worth it then, not anymore.

Don't worry, this isn't where my story ends.  I should have mentioned that in 2016, I was experiencing a lot of health problems.  Between an insanely heavy menstrual cycle that landed me in the emergency room at least 6 times that year and a knee that decided to not work anymore, I had too much on my plate.  I had such little space in my head to accomplish things.  So, the important stuff came first and writing came in dead last ... 

2017 I had every intention on not doing this anymore until an old friend came back into my life and demanded I give it another go round.  I fought her at first and finally gave in ... I didn't even have the energy to argue ... she was invited to participate in a charity anthology and asked me to co-write with her.  I figured this would be easier than trying to do it on my own, so I agreed.

I wrote our story in a matter of 6 hours.  I emailed it to her, she added her own special brand of phenomenal and transformed our story from bare bones to perfection in a weekend.  I felt inspired again.  I had the itch again.  My fingers needed to pound the keys.  I was alive.  She sparked the fire.

I pulled out a manuscript I'd put away because it was too hard to write.  It hurt my entire soul to think of finishing this story, but it was the only thing I could think of ... so I grabbed it and started playing with it.  In between, I was penning other short stories for other anthologies ... just to keep writing and when the anthology was done, I'd publish those stories separately.  None did fantastic, but I never expected them to do anything at all ... it was cool ... I honestly didn't give an entire shit.  They made the anthology money which went to charity and that was all that mattered.  

Finally, after a few months, First of Many was finished.  To date, I believe this is my best written novel ... it has everything I'd want in a book.  Beginning to end, it's exactly what I wanted it to be.  I purchased the most beautiful cover and held my breath as I published ... 

It didn't flop.  It didn't do amazing, but I actually paid some bills with that royalty check.  I wasn't over the dreadful feelings, but I thought I was on the right track.  So much so, that I dove into my next story ...

Once Bitten ... the concept, the characters, the setting ... it was new adult heaven and writing it was the most fun I'd had in ... well ... years.  I was flying through, even had to buy a new computer because I broke the keyboard on my other ... I pulled out 20,000 words in 2 days.  I didn't sleep, shower or eat.  I think my kids ate leftover spaghetti for breakfast lunch and dinner ... I WAS ME AGAIN!!!!  

2018 started and I couldn't wait ... I was stoked ... February 20, I hit publish ... and there were sales ... I couldn't believe it.  That first day, I was so excited I couldn't stand it ...

Then the sales stopped ... and the rank plumeted ... and I couldn't figure it out ... 

Until I did ... it was the name ... "Once Bitten" screamed PNR ... at the time, when planning the series and titles, I was so geeked ... "Once Bitten" ... "Twice Shy" ... "Third Time Lucky" ... and the series was about 3 wealthy brothers and their quests for love ... and all the titles played into the backstory ... only, that information was in my head and not out there for everyone ... and when playing to the new adult readers, throwing a PNR title at them isn't the way to make some sales ... and now, because I threw everything into the market, I'm too damn broke to rebrand ...

And here we are friends ... I can't pen a novel to save my life.  I've tried ... I've begged my brain to work ... I've tried every trick in the book.  This isn't writer's block ... this is the case of the missing mojo ... and I have no idea how to get it back.  I can't think of a good, original story.  I can't imagine writing another sex scene.  I don't want to look at stock covers.  Since February 20, when I published Once Bitten, I've written a total of 500 words.  I started a new story, not even Wes's story which I promised my readers ... and I love those 500 words, and I Can't think for the life of me how to get those 500 words to turn into a story readers will read ...

I can't talk to my author friends about anything because it always comes back to writing and I find myself getting uncomfortably angry when they talk about their books, their mojo or their paychecks... don't get me wrong, I want them to have all these things, I just want to have all those things too and it breaks my heart when the thing I loved for so long (my whole life, really ... writing!!) is the thing that causes me the most stress and heartache.  I don't want to hate my passion, but I don't know how not to ...

So, I'm taking the advice of my very good friend and I'm going to just keep writing ... no matter what, every single day, I'm going to demand a certain number of words from myself ... they might be great, or they might be utterly horrible ... but they'll be mine.  I'm going to find new music and watch new TV shows ... I'm going to try and read new books (yeah, that's the other shitty part about this horrible writing depression I find myself in ... I can't read, especially anything by my friends ... because it makes me jealous and I do not look good in green ... I try so hard to read their books, they've sent me ARC copies ... Friends ... please know, if you're reading this, I didn't read it and hate it ... I just can't right now, but I promise I will the second my brain says I can stop being a douche ... I love you and you're all fantastic).  I'm going to come back to the world who gave me life again.  Who gave me meaning outside of "what's for dinner" and "can you help with my algebra" ... I'm coming back.  Maybe as me, Ashley Suzanne ... maybe I'll test a pen name ... maybe I'll co-write ... maybe I'll switch genres ... maybe I'll touch up some old favorites in my downtime ... maybe I'll have the next big deal ... or maybe it'll flop ... 

But more than anything ... I've been working on me.  I'm finding me again.  And I can't wait to see you all.  

Hugs and Love ...

Not So Average Ashley Anymore <3

Monday, February 26, 2018

*** NOW IN KINDLE UNLIMITED ***

HAPPY MONDAY!!!!  As of last night, Once Bitten has been enrolled in Kindle Unlimited!!!  Are YOU a KU member?!  It's basically a subscription that allows you to read UNLIMITED (provided the author enrolls the book) for the entire month!!!


I’m in love with my boyfriend’s brother.
But before you judge me, you need to know the whole story. I’ve been in love with Walker Weisman for as long as I can remember. And when our summer romance turned out to be a short-lived fling, I was left destroyed.
I fought hard, picked myself up by my boot-straps, and started to heal; tape and glue holding my heart together. I leaned on my friends, started dating again and felt almost human … when Walker wanted a second chance.
With my head and heart at war, a decision was needed—my boyfriend or his brother …
ONE CLICK ONCE BITTEN HERE

What are reviewers saying?!?!

This novel is one of those that I need to buy in paperback. It was so good, that I need to drool and gush over it in person. - My Slanted Bookish Ramblings
If you're looking for a steamy, angsty, second chance romance, then you need to one-click Once Bitten by Ashley Suzanne today! - Reading Past My Bedtime
From the very beginning I was hooked. It's super quick paced, yet character build up is wonderful. I've read every book Ashley has published, and I have to say that this one is my FAVORITE by far. It's a great second chance love read. There is a love triangle, but it's not super dramatic. - Amazon Reviewer
DON'T HAVE KU ... CLICK HERE!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

***ONCE BITTEN UPDATE***



On MONDAY I'll be enlisting ONCE BITTEN into Kindle Unlimited!!!  While this is very exciting for me ... to catch the attention of new and old readers alike ... it also means I'll have to remove ONCE BITTEN from all other outlets ...

This is NOT an easy decision, but I want to be able to offer as many books to as many readers as possible ... So, if you're a Kobo, Nook or iBooks reader, you'll want to grab ONCE BITTEN this weekend!!  

To my AMAZON readers ... if you'd like to grab ONCE BITTEN at the introductory price of $2.99, grab it THIS WEEKEND.  Along with KU, the price will raise to $3.99 on Monday!!!

Here's all the links and I can't wait to hear what you all think!!!