Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Welcome guest blogger Ashlynn Monroe!

Ashlynn Monroe is here today to talk about her latest release and about her writing.  Welcome her if you will!  Thanks for being here Ashlynn!  It's all yours!

Blog for Julie

Ashlynn Monroe

Full Circle…

This month I feel a bit as if I’ve come full circle with my newest novel Reality Stinks.  In February 2010 I contracted by first novella with Wild Horse Press.  You can’t imagine the pure joy I felt!  I’ve been writing fiction for my own enjoyment since I was thirteen.  At first, my goal was to be published by the time I was eighteen.  Then the Goal changed to twenty-one, and after that birthday it became twenty-five.  Suddenly I woke up thirty and I seriously decided to explore the world of publishing. 

I tried for a year to get an agent.  Sadly, most of them didn’t even bother to respond and the few that did said my work was too short or too unpolished to interest them.  I considered self-publishing, but one evening during a Google search, I saw a call for submissions from Wild Horse Press. I heard in only a few days and happily signed with them.  This bit of encouragement had me blowing dust off dozens of manuscripts and finishing them or polishing them.  I began to find them homes and now have the privilege of reporting that besides WHP I have contracts with Silver Publishing, kNight Romance Publishing, Wicked Ink, Wicked Nights, Willow Moon Press, and Evernight Publishing. 

I have contracts reaching into 2012 right now and countless ideas in my head for more stories.  The majority of my work is novellas and short stories, However Reality Stinks is a full novel and I’m so pleased at how it turned out.  I wrote this story before I was ever published to cheer myself up during a very rough time in my life.  The darkness and my need for a laugh blended to create a unique and fun urban fantasy that I’m going to be crafting a sequel too later this year.  Here is a blurb and excerpt from this delightful story.  It gave me something I needed when life was tough and I hope it’ll do the same for you.  

When Dina’s wellspring of reality television program ideas runs dry, she’s desperate to save her job. The only way she can do that is to come up with something brilliant; I want to date a superhero. Unfortunately, the only superhero she knows is Zane Blair. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Comedy hijinks ensue when you combine one reluctant bachelor, ten attention seeking woman, and one very evil super villain for reality TV.

Dina Dell sat in the conference room waiting for her boss. A lump the size of Texas began forming in her throat! She knew things weren’t going to go well, yet she held hope that old Erving might be forgiving. Her past track record with hip innovative programming ideas had once made her his most valued employee. She was the mastermind of top rated shows such as Kid Exchange and Please Someone, Marry my Mother.

Unfortunately, the wellspring ran dry, for the last year, every show she’d produced had been ratings disasters, if they’d even been lucky enough to air at all! Dina saw the writing on the wall, and with the network making major cuts to combat the economic slump, she knew the axe was coming down.

Watching the wily old codger walk towards the room through the opaque glass, even without seeing his face, she knew he was on the warpath; his body language said it all. He threw open the door with dramatic flair.

“My Cat is in Charge. Really, really and truly? Dear God Dina, you really thought this was going to make good TV? Who’d ever watch this? What happened to that brilliant brain of yours? Did you have a head injury? Did you have a stroke? What could possibly keep me from canning your sweet little ass right now?”

“Well, the sexual harassment lawsuit over your 'sweet ass' comment for one, and, two, I’ve an idea that'll blow you over the moon. Your brain will implode when I tell you. I swear this one will put the network on top. That whole cat thing was just to get your attention for this.” Dina lied through her teeth. She had nothing, but he didn’t know that.

Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, she hoped he couldn’t see how much she was sweating or smell her fear. Ok, maybe if I lie well, he won’t send my rear end out on the street where I’ll end up a broke street person rambling incoherently about my glory days working in television. The desperately thoughts sent her heart racing.

“You’ve made this network some serious money, but that’s in the past. For the last year, you’ve been a harbinger of series death. Whatever you've touched around here has turned to steaming piles of…crap! Your ideas stink! Once upon a time, I called you the queen of reality TV. Whatever happened? Why’re you pushing terrible, idiotic, horrible programming, it makes me want to stick sharp pencils in both my eyes so I can't see them and scratch off my ears so I can’t hear them! Blind and deaf, I’d like to rip my hair out of my head so the pain can distract me from the memory!

“If I didn’t respect you so much and love you like the daughter I’m glad I never had, I’d have put you out of here six months ago. I put my sweet ass on the line for yours this morning with the network, so don’t screw me with this garbage anymore! I swear this cat thing made me want to stick a firecracker up my nose and blow my head off!”
She winced, Erving was never one to spare feelings, but ouch…harsh! His graphic and dramatic criticism felt completely deserved. He was right. She did suck.

“If this thing works out, I’ll be the queen again. So cool off Erving, before my only supporter has a massive heart attack and dies!”
“You’re giving your only supporter the heart problems, so last chance, kid. Turn the dung into gold or you’re fired!” He abruptly left, wiping her self-respect off his shoes as he marched away. The old coot’s face was still red from his tantrum as he left, making Dina genuinely worried about his health.

For a long time, Dina looked at the blank, smooth tabletop, letting it remind her of her mind. She grimaced. It was time to put the kid gloves away, going into the ring ready to win. She’d the perfect idea, but it was going to be a hard sell. She’d have to sell it to someone she cared very deeply about. Oh, the network would love her. Old Erving would love her. Masses of television viewers would love her. Yet she’d hate herself, probably until she died.


A lone figure stood on the rooftop, overlooking one of the worst areas of the city. He used his Amazing ears to hear and his miraculous eyes to see what no mere mortal could. Then he used his unique heart to give a damn about what was happening to the weak and hurting in the city below. Every night he risked his life to save those in need of a hero. It was starting to get to him, but he knew the crime rate was dropping and people relied on him, so he continued as a vigilante. The press dubbed him Mind-Man. He used his mind-control ability to stop criminals. His five senses were better than any other human on Earth. He ran as fast as a car, and he’d shield himself from attack with only a mere thought. He healed rapidly, but he was mortal. Someday it would catch up to him and he’d die. He’d even move objects and transport himself across large distances using his power.

Many feared he’d one day turn evil and use his abilities to harm, but most people saw him as a hero, a protector. When emergency services put them on hold, he'd show up, saving the day. If they only knew he thought of himself as an average guy. He’d never asked for the telekinesis, or mind control, or superhuman abilities. He was just Zane Blair, accountant.

As a very small boy, Child Protective Services took him away from his alcoholic mother. They placed him in a home for unwanted and unloved children--children with no one to notice the terrible things happening under the care of the scientists who ran the facility. In the eighties, corporate atrocities remained hidden more easily by authorities bribed to look the other way. The Sunny Meadow Children’s Home was just a front for some freaky science. He was one of countless children subjugated to torturous experimentation and one of only six to survive.

Turning, he felt her presence. Rain, his crime-fighting companion, stood next to him. The woman felt like a sister to him. She could turn herself into any liquid she chose, even to vapor, and then reassemble her body. It always amazed him. Her real name didn’t seem to matter to her any more, Ella Dell; she’d been with him for all those terrible experiments. Looking around for Stunner, it became clear she hadn’t joined them. Stunner, a woman who could freeze time, looked so beautiful the press gave her the nickname because of her face more than her ability.

It really shouldn’t have surprised him she wasn’t there, but it made his heart hurt. Brigitte, a.k.a. Stunner, lost the man she loved a few months earlier during a rescue at a fire. Helium, nicknamed because he could float--fly really—died when he tried to rescue a brother and sister from the top floor of a high-rise apartment where they'd been trapped. The building collapsed, he saved the children, but lost his life in the process. Brigitte’s desire to use her gifts disappeared the day Helium died. Zane knew it hurt Rain; Brigitte was her best friend.

“Dina called. She wants to meet with you later. I was surprised she called, it must be important.” Disapproval saturated Ella’s tone.
Zane tried not to smile. He’d been missing Dina fiercely. He hadn’t wanted to admit how much he wanted to see her; it’d been months since the last time he’d found an excuse to go to her. She was the one who got away, the love of his life. She’d been with them in the dungeon of a lab. She’d endured those dark times and her indomitable spirit kept him from just giving up and dying. She was the only person on the planet that didn’t want to be around the hero. Dina just wanted the man. He always felt complete with her.

When she’d left them to go live her “normal” life, his heartbreak
made him reckless, less concerned with anonymity. He was nineteen and foolish. That was when the media made the four of them into dark angels--sometimes praising, sometimes condemning--but always there recording their exploits. Dina pulled even farther away. That was six years ago, and as much as Zane loved her, he gave her the space she wanted from what he’d become and from the danger he exposed her to.
Keeping her in his life would’ve been selfish, but he’d never evict her from his heart. Threats and stalkers came with what he did, and he’d managed to keep his dual identity secret. Dina suffered so much as a child, more than the rest of them. He only wanted her to have happiness now. If being with him caused her pain, he couldn’t be responsible for it, so he let her go without much of a fight. She'd met her pain quota for several lifetimes.

Ella interrupted his thoughts. “So are you going to go see Miss Average or what? It’s quiet tonight; if I need you, I know where you are.”

He nodded. Closing his eyes, he visualized Dina’s apartment, arriving in an instant. It only worked with places he’d been. In his heart he hoped that was the reason she never moved. His heart longed to see any trace she might still have feelings for him.

I also have stories in anthologies out this month.

Indecent Encounters from Evernight Publishing, a hot collection of stories of hot ménage shorts.  Silver Publishing graciously contracted my story One Night in Aphrodite’s panties for the Captured Hearts anthology.  I hope you’ll enjoy this humorous sexy tale.

Happy  Belated Valentine’s Day
**HUGS** Ashlynn


  1. It is great to have an agent, but as a writer, you can make it on your own. Your first novel, huh? How fab is that. Loved the excerpt. Good luck with it.

  2. Cute blurb. I watch a lot of reality tv. How embarassing to admit!