Ashley C. Darling

It’s okay to give up reading a series—I did

Feb
09

So, I’m not usually one to give up on a book. There are very few I will actually delegate to my DNF pile, and only if I really, *really* can’t get through it. Two books spring to mind immediately from the last year that I DNF’d—VASSA IN THE NIGHT by Sarah Porter and RIVERKEEP by Martin Stewart. I don’t know if it was the style, genre, or some strange combination of the two, but something just put me off these books.

But I’m not here to talk about individual books. I’m here to talk about when you should quit reading a series. Or, well, when *I* decided to quit reading a series. And I know I’m going to catch so much flak for not finishing this series. It’s not YA (which is my genre of choice), but it is a beloved series by an equally beloved author—the SHADES OF MAGIC Trilogy.

I know, I know. Schwab is a master at her craft. I adored the first book, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. I loved Lila and Kell. But as I was reading through the first 50 pages of A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, I was *bored.* That’s not a good feeling to have that early in a book. And I know its a second book, so it’ll have that middle syndrome, but really. I’m pretty sure I stopped well before 100 pages and I haven’t picked it back up in weeks. It’s still sitting on my bedside table, gathering dust and ice cream droplets and who knows what else. (I should probably put it back on the shelf…)

Maybe I’ll pick it back up in a few months. I adored the first book and its characters. Maybe 2018 isn’t quite the right time to pick up a book about magic and mayhem and darkness encroaching on the world—that lands too close to home. For now I’ll put AGOS back on the shelf with its buddies and find another book to read.

Sometimes the timing isn’t right, and that’s okay. Sometimes you need some space to really ready yourself for a heady book—and that’s totally valid, too. Whatever your reasons for giving up on a series, just know that it isn’t an irrevocable decision. There’s always the library. Or—heck!—even your own personal library where you can find the book or series again. Just because you set it aside for now doesn’t mean you can’t return to it when you’re ready. It’s not like the series will disappear.

Have you ever DNF’d a series? If so, which series? Can you pinpoint what put you off (timing, genre, characters, plot, etc)? Let me know in the comments!

Pitch Wars 2016 Mentee Bio

Jul
06

#PimpMyBio is an optional blog post for the Pitch Wars 2016 mentee hopefuls. If you don’t know what Pitch Wars is, take a look over at Brenda Drake’s site, and learn all you want to know! It’s basically an awesome contest for writers where mentees (like me!) join up with mentors in the business (authors, agents, editors, etc) and work together to get the mentee’s manuscripts polished and up to snuff for the agent around in a few months. I can’t wait to submit!

ABOUT ME

I’m a twenty-something fantasy writer living in northwest Arkansas. By day I work at a veterinary clinic as an inventory manager/receptionist, and by night I’m a swashbuckling heroine, a warrior defending her people, and a young mutant learning about her power — all in my books, of course.

I’ve been writing since I was 11 (so like forever, but who’s counting?), ever since my grandfather gave me my first (used) Toshiba laptop. I started out in the Neopets forum (yes, I’m that old) and eventually moved to forum-based roleplay. When I’m not pretending to be a wolf on the internet (GO WOLF!), I’m researching for my novels, or else reading some of my favorite books.

I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi fan. Some of my favorite authors include JK Rowling, George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, and Pierce Brown, among others. In my teenage years I obsessed over Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. TRUE BLOOD is my favorite show EVER, and the books the show is based on, the Sookie Stackhouse Series, are just as amazing. I love vampires; I should probably write about them someday!

I grew up in Miami, Florida, for seven years, then moved to northwest Arkansas when my dad got a job up here. I love it. It’s the most gorgeous area of the country, even if it can get a bit stifling (it was once well over 110 degrees for two weeks. Talk about heat!).

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember. It’s something I’ve worked on over the years, but in 2014 I finally had the grand inspiration for my book. Between a friend’s ideas, and my own crazy imagination, I dreamed up the world in which I write, and I hope the passion and love for this world come across.

ABOUT MY BOOK

I’m submitting THE ADEPT, a YA historical fantasy inspired by the Amazon warriors of ancient Greece. It follows a young woman as she uncovers a plot to kill the Queen, and the consequences of her actions as she discovers the would-be-usurper’s identity: her own mother.

WHY PICK ME

Everyone says this, so to some extent it loses its meaning, but I will seriously bust my ass to revise and strengthen this manuscript. I love the ADEPT and the world I’ve created. I just need someone else’s eyes to help me polish it, bring it to a shining gleam, and delve deeper into world than I ever thought possible. I’ve got the work ethic, I just need someone to point me in the right direction, because right now I’m feeling a little lost.

Take a look at the other mentee bios here.

My Favorite Books of 2015

Jan
18

Last year, I set a goal to read 30 books. In the end, I actually read 27 books. Not bad considering I also worked full-time, wrote a few drafts of my first book, was an editor for a pop culture website, and had a personal life outside all of that.

Even though I read close to 30 books last year, there were only a few that stood out. Here are my 10 favorite books I read last year:

Top 10 Books 2015

Out of all those, four were young adult fiction (historical/fantasy), five were adult fantasy, and one was cross-marketed as young adult / adult science fiction (Red Rising).

That ratio definitely fits in with my normal reading style: I read about half young adult and half adult fiction, usually fantasy or science fiction. I enjoy some historical and contemporary novels, but my heart lies with fantasy and sci-fi. Its also interesting to note that six out of ten of those books were new reads for me, while four were re-reads.

What were your favorite books from 2015? Did you set yourself a goal? Did you meet it (or not)? What about this year?

What book(s) are you most looking forward to this year? Let me know!