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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“When I’m not writing” with Ashley Lynn Willis & Giveaway

image This week, I’m pleased to welcome Ashley Lynn Willis to the blog. Ashley’s first novel, The Calling, is available now as an e-book. It’s a different sort of paranormal romance – her characters have gifts but they’re not the usual vampire/werewolf/fae elements we’re used to seeing, which is quite exciting.

Ashley has graciously offered one e-copy of The Calling as a giveaway. Look for those details after you find out what Ashley does when she’s not working away on her projects!




I was totally excited when Jenn approached me about doing a “When I’m not writing” post. Then I thought about it for five minutes and realized I have no life beyond taking care of my two preschoolers.

I haven’t always been this boring. Before I had kids, I went snorkeling off the Florida Keys, skiing in Colorado, and riding tut-tuts in Bangkok, but now I wipe snotty noses, kiss boo-boos, and make a mean chicken nugget in five minutes flat.

Oddly enough, I wouldn’t go back to my kid-less days if someone offered me a lifetime supply of dark chocolate hand fed by my choice of Black Dagger Brothers.  No, seriously. I mean it. I don’t have an ounce of remorse about losing those carefree days because I love spending time with my kiddos. Since they’re attached to my hip twenty-four-seven, you get to accompany me on one of my favorite weekly activities – a trip to the zoo!

Welcome to the Sedgwick County Zoo! I’m pleased to introduce my five-year-old daughter Abigail and my four-year-old son Asher. If you’re wondering why they look practically the same size, I have some advice for all you pregnant ladies out there: breastfeeding does NOT equal birth control. I found that out as I stared at a positive pregnancy test less than four months after having Abigail. Abby and Ash are twelve months apart and have a weight difference of about three pounds. People constantly ask if they’re twins. While their age difference was difficult on my husband and myself the first two years of their lives, it’s a blessing now because they are best buds.

In January of this year, I quit my engineering job so I could spend more time with my cute little buggers before they start school. Once a week, we pack our lunch and head out for some fun with the furry and scaly animals. It gives us exercise and, most importantly, it gets us out of the house for some educational fun.

Our first stop was the favored hippos. Unfortunately, the water is too murky for us see them from the lower glass, so we head to the top of the exhibit.

“There’s a hippo in the water somewhere, honey,” I tell my sad daughter.

“Why don’t we go swim with them, Mommy? Then we can find them.”

I gulp at the thought of my baby in a pond with a two-thousand-pound hippo. “Not today, honey.” I pat her head. At that precise moment, the hippo lifts her nostrils out of the water and snorts a loud gust of air. I guess she isn’t too keen on the idea, either. And now, we’re off to the jungle exhibit…

Okay, ladies, meet the creature of your dreams, the very beings that your hot lovin’ vamps descend from—the vampire bat. Did you know that vampire bats make very good neighbors? They will groom you, share their body warmth, and even regurgitate some of their last meal for you if you’re hungry. Yummy! I wonder if Bones or Edward Cullen would be so kind of a neighbor? *Shiver* I hope not. Okay, enough of that, let’s head to Africa…   

I refer to these little guys as the Sharks and Jets. I have yet to see them when they aren’t pacing in front of the divider, acting as if they’re ready for a brawl. Of course, the kids love them. They’re so tiny and cute. And now, we’re off to eat lunch…

I’m pretty sure my kids are the only ones on the planet who don’t want jelly on their PB&J sandwich. I, however, load up my sandwich with strawberry jam. The rest of the menu consists of red grapes, chocolate milk, and sun chips.  Yum! Sounds much better than regurgitated blood from the bats. *Shiver*

Where do the kids all want to hang out at the zoo? The playground, of course. Never mind the hundreds of exhibits waiting to be explored.

You can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. However, you can pick a silverback’s nose as long as he’s made of bronze.

And that, my friends, is how I spend one day out of every week. Now, only six-hundred-and-five days until they are both in school full-time, and I can get some much-needed rest. Doh! Did I just write that down? I meant, thanks for joining us. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.


Thank you, Ashley, for taking the time to share your day with us! I love your pictures, particularly that last one. Your kids are adorable.

To get to know Ashley even better, you can visit her website.

The Calling Cover


Mandy Hardy lost more than a breast to cancer; she lost her fiancé when he dumped her a week before her mastectomy. Her ego bruised and her self-esteem battered, Mandy’s sure she’ll never fall in love again. 

Justin Seward is a headstrong Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer with a heart of gold and the supernatural ability to command the seas. He had to hide his feelings while Mandy was engaged to his best friend. Now that she’s free, he’s vowed to make her his.

Together, they may hold the key to each other’s salvation. But when Justin’s past catches up with him, and Mandy’s ex-fiancé wants vengeance, they realize they might not live long enough for happily ever after. The Calling is a 360 page contemporary romance with a paranormal twist.

Purchase: Amazon (only $0.99!!)



As I mentioned at the start of this post, Ashley is offering one (1) e-copy of The Calling to a lucky reader.

To enter, do what the Rafflecopter says!

Giveaway closes November 30, 2011.

Open internationally.


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

20 People left their mark' :

  1. I'm really enjoying this When I'm Not Writing series. Great idea, ladies!
    At the zoo, my 1st destination is the big cats. Even if all they're doing is napping in the sun, I love 'em!

  2. I always like the frogs. My daughter really enjoys the horses and the zebras, so we will spend a lot of time there. Thanks for the chance.

  3. I like to see the wolves.

    sgiden at verizon.net

  4. I love to see the Penguins! My sister and I used to stand forEVER at the window of the penguin exhibit and just laugh and laugh at those silly penguins.


  5. I have always loved the elephants and they were the first place I always dragged my poor mum!

  6. Anything cute and furry. Polar cubs or baby lions and tigers. Awww. Thank you for the giveaway. like the sound of this book.

  7. I remember counting down the days to the beginning of school then each year after it seemed to be a goal; now I wish I could go back in time and hold them close to me.

  8. That's a hard one, because there are so many really cool animals. I just went to the San Diego Zoo while back in California visiting my sister. The animals I was disappointed not to see there were penguins. Whenever I go to SeaWorld Orlando, I have to visit the penguins, they're just so cute.

  9. Oh I love zoos! It's really hard to pick a favorite...I think it's a tie between snow leopards and mere cats.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  10. My son and I like to see the monkey's at our local small zoo. The zoo does shows evey hour where they bring animals out for the children to learn about and he got to hold the monkey once. I love "When I’m not writing” post. Its a nice way to learn more about the author.


  11. I'm actually not a fan of zoos because I find them depressing. On the other hand, I was lucky enough to go to Africa on a game safari. We spent hours out on the plains watching animals in their natural habitats. My favorites are the giraffes. They are hilarious. They freeze in place when they see you and you can just see them thinking "If I hold real still, maybe they won't notice me".

  12. I love to visit the various kinds of monkeys cause they are fun :)

  13. I hate zoos. I realize they now serve a conservation purpose in this country and we have some great ones that try to recreate the natural habitat, but I think game preserves are better for most animals. Zoos should be for maimed anaimals who can't survive otherwise.

  14. Funny enough, this posted yesterday, and guess where I was? The zoo of course. LOL. My fav animal changes every time we visit. Yesterday, it was the penguins because there was a woman in the water with them, cleaning the glass, and the cute little birds kept swimming up to her and demanding attention. They wouldn't leave her alone until she gave them a good scratch on the head. It was so cute.

    I do agree seeing some of the animals can be sad, like the poor panther perched in a tree, staring longingly at the birds in the Asian forest exhibit. You can tell he wants to make a snack of them or at least chase them for sport.

    Thank you everyone for entering the giveaway! And thank you Jenn and Tyngas for allowing me a guest post.:) it was a of fun!

  15. I meant to say, a lot of fun. My brain slipped. LOL.

  16. My favorite are the mere cats love them and the big cats! Thank you for the great giveaway sounds like a great book!

  17. I'm a fan of the cats- their attitude of disdain makes them oddly appealing to me :)


  18. Thank you for the blog post, I enjoyed reading it. And with your kids to school, you have more writing time, yeah!

    Love those zoo pictures.

  19. I love to visit the penguins :)

  20. Meerkats. I think they're funny to watch. :0)