Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Asperger's character on Mystery!

Inspector Lewis Sunday night featured a character who had Asperger's (Episode title: And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea). The character reminded me very much of the hero in my recent release, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. He never looked straight into anyone's eyes, he knew what time he arrived anywhere to the exact minute and how long he stayed, was an artist who could draw anyone rapidly after a quick glance, he knew the social things he was "supposed" to do, but didn't really understand or much care why, and he was the master of the nonsequiter. The actor who portrayed him did a wonderful job.

You can watch the show online until September 13:

Monday, June 08, 2009


Right now I'm writing a fantasy/mystery/romance set in the Southwest U.S., a place I've lived for more than 20 years. (Stormwalker by Allyson James, Berkley, probably May 2010). The heroine is a young Navajo woman who makes her living as a photographer but also helps people in supernatural jams (locating missing persons, solving cold case murders).

I set the book in north central and northeastern Arizona, inventing a little town called Magellan, in small fictional Hopi County.

I travel frequently in this area and today was going over some of my "atmosphere" photos. I've set the fictional town of Magellan south of Winslow out in rolling desert hills. The elevation here is about 6000 feet, which means not so much cactus as scrubby juniper and cottonwoods (near water), and plenty of grasses. The rocks are mostly sandstone, and sudden washes and little canyons cut through seemingly flat land.

I was lucky enough last time I was there to drive out while storms built in the west and south. My heroine is a "Stormwalker" (which I invented), a person whose magic is tied to storms. She's very powerful when it's storming, not so much on a clear sunny day.

I like the area because at certain points, you can see miles upon miles in all directions.

Looking north and east to the painted desert and Navajo Nation.

Looking west from the same spot to the San Francisco peaks (highest point 12,000 feet), the traditional western boundary of Navajo lands and one of the four sacred mountains. The city of Flagstaff is in the foothills of this mountain range.

I'm working hard to get this book finished and thought I'd give you a taste of the landscape while I write.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Interview with RITA-nominee Suspense author Colleen Thompson

I love the RS novels of Colleen Thompson (which read more like mainstream mysteries than typical RS). She sets the books in different locations in Texas, and the settings play a large part in the stories (they become another character). Her recent RITA-nominated book, Triple Exposure is set in the south-west Texas, Big Bend area; and her latest release, Beneath Bone Lake is set in the Caddo Lake area on the border of Texas and Louisiana.

Please click over to my group blog (The Chatelaines) to read my interview with her:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Brenda Novak's Auction to benefit Diabetes

Each year, suspense author Brenda Novak conducts an online auction, the proceeds of which benefit diabetes research. Last year the auction raised more than $250,000 (yep, that's $250K).

This year I'm donating a collection of the entire 8-book Immortals series, a multi-author series in a world I created, plus a dragon trilogy I wrote as Allyson James. (All autographed)

Click here to view

Also donated is a single signed copy of my historical (non-romance) novel, The Queen's Handmaiden.

Click here to view

There is tons more to bid on. Authors and bookstores donate books, plus editors and agents donate critiques. Plus jewelery and collectables, gift baskets, and unique items like:

Lunch with Diana Gabaldon

Lake Tahoe Weekend Getaway

Name a Character in NY Times Bestseller John Lescroart’s
2010 novel, Treasure Hunt

And dear to my miniatures-loving heart: Murder Ink, A Bookstore in Miniature

The home page of the auction is here:

Bidding ends May 31!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lindsey Davis

This weekend I listened to Lindsey Davis talk about her Falco mysteries and her latest book Alexandria. I snagged a copy and had it signed.

My friend who got me started on her was there as well, so we had a cozy mystery day.

If you haven't read the Falco series, start with Silver Pigs. Worth it. If you haven't heard Ms. Davis speak--find out where she's appearing and go! She is entertaining as all get out.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Time for a Levity Break!

It's been a wild, wacky, frustrating, weird past couple of weeks. Great buzz on my new release. Very weird problems with new release (not *everything* went wrong, but so many things did, and still are).

Plus this week I've turned in 1. proofreading of one book; 2. copyedits of novella; 3. submitted ms.; 4. submitted another ms. Not to mention writing blogs almost every day for my mini blog tour.

Happily I have everything turned in, my blog tour is done, and now I have two things on my immediate plate: more proofreading and starting a new ms. (due July 1).

It is far, far, far past time for a break. I'm going to return next week to reviews and interviews, but for now ... Sheep. (watch to the end; you'll be glad you did)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A writer relaxes by...

... enjoying great mysteries. I write a lot of romance, but truth to tell, my favorite genre is mystery.

I've been indulging myself with:

1. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency on HBO. The season wrapped up last night--if you don't get HBO, watch for it to come out on DVD. Worth it. They filmed it in Botswana, so the location is beautiful, and they're following the books somewhat faithfully.

2. The Last Detective. Cozy mystery + Peter Davidson. What's not to love?

3. Cracker (the original with Robbie Coltrane). This series is a bit bleak, but they've made Cracker so interesting. And on what other show can you watch Hamish Macbeth kill Dr. Who and be investigated by Hagrid?

4. Midsomer Murders. I rent this from Netflix, so am at the mercy of the DVD releases. Faster, faster!

These shows get me through the toughest times, and I look forward to my mystery indulgence every night.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Congrats Edgar Winners!

This just in from Mystery Writers of America--the winners of the Edgar awards for best mysteries of the year:

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

The Foreigner by Francie Lin (Picador)

China Lake by Meg Gardiner (New American Library – Obsidian Mysteries)

American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Howard Blum (Crown Publishers)

Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories by Dr. Harry Lee Poe (Metro Books)

"Skinhead Central" - The Blue Religion by T. Jefferson Parker (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)

The Postcard by Tony Abbott (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Paper Towns by John Green (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton Children’s Books)

The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza (Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL)

“Prayer of the Bone” – Wire in the Blood, Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (BBC America)

In Bruges, Screenplay by Martin McDonagh (Focus Features)

"Buckner's Error" - Queens Noir by Joseph Guglielmelli (Akashic Books)

James Lee Burke
Sue Grafton

Edgar Allan Poe Society, Baltimore, Maryland
Poe House, Baltimore, Maryland

The Killer’s Wife by Bill Floyd (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

Congrats all!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Great Reviews for Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The reviews for Madness of Lord Ian are pouring in, and they're all (so far) fantastic. I'm speechless (ok, I've never been speechless in my life--let's say I'm stunned). I never expected this.

Romantic Times BookReviews 4.5 Top Pick! (You have to be a subscriber to read this one until a couple months from now). Here's a quote: "By tackling an unusual theme, à la Laura Kinsale, Ashley touches readers on many levels. Brava!"

All About Romance--Desert Isle Keeper review

The Good, The Bad, The Unread A+ review

Barbara Vey's Publisher's Weekly blog

There are others out there, and I have heard there are more to come.

A friend of mine noted that this book reminded her much of the Captain Lacey mysteries (it does feature a murder mystery and a Scotland Yard detective, who will be a recurring character--but she also means it has the same kind of tone and feeling).

In other words, if you like the Captain Lacey series, I hope you will give this one a try.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

German editions

I sold German rights to the six published Lacey mysteries, and they're just now coming out in Germany. Nice covers! I think the third should be out sometime soon.

The Hanover Square Affair

A Regimental Murder (They wanted to use another place name.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Host of authors at Poisoned Pen

Poisoned Pen mystery bookstore has a nice list of authors coming by to sign books in the next couple of months. Even if you don't live near Phx/Scottsdale, the store generally keeps some signed stock that you can order.

The events list is here:

I'm excited about the Lindsey Davis one in May--if you haven't heard her speak, she's hilarious. She will have a discussion and sign Alexandria, the newest Falco mystery. If you attend, I'll be in the audience. Laughing, I imagine.

Ashley Gardner

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Number One Ladies

I'm thrilled that HBO is airing the dramatization of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. It's one of my favorite series, and I'm loving watching it come to life. (I'm also thrilled I was too lazy to cancel HBO between True Blood seasons.)

I think they've captured the flavor and the characters well (I always fear disaster when books become series). The character of Grace is played more broadly than I pictured, but I'm enjoying the fun they're having.

If you don't have HBO, keep an eye out for the DVD release. I think the series worth viewing. They filmed the episodes in Botswana, and the visuals are stunning.