A Video About My Debut Album

 

Hello lovely fans! I’m so excited to announce that my debut album, Fields of Destiny is now available on Amazon MP3 for purchase! In this video, I talk about that, as well as give a little background story on my album. I really hope you enjoy it!

Purchase on Amazon MP3

Stream on Soundcloud

Listen to on YouTube

A Thousand Cranes – Volume 6 – New Poetry Book Released!

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Genre : Poetry
Paperback : 206 Pages
From the book -

Clovers in the Sun

I once saw a clover shining in the sunlight
& in the background thru headphones, heroes
were singing about how we could do it
if only we were brave enough
& could be so when the times demanded this of us
if only we could be the heroes of our own stories
when there was no one else around to be our heroes

& like a bolt of stardust
falling from the sky
it hit me; I looked into my reflection
& bravely said
“I love you”

then I repeated this to the whole world & every soul in it
& my life was new

A Thousand Cranes, Volume 6 is a collection of 100 poems to inspire you.

Fields of Destiny Now Available on Amazon MP3!

Fields of Destiny-1

My debut album, Fields of Destiny, is now available for download on Amazon MP3! You can check it out here.

The release of my first album means a lot to me, & not just because releasing an album is exciting. I now feel like I’m really & truly a “legit” musician, & that having an album out is so much more impressive than having released a few singles. I think that releasing an album shows the world that a musician is serious about their songs, & by proving to the world, but most importantly yourself that music is one of your passions & you’re pursuing that – I think that’s really powerful. It inspires you to make more music, to try and outdo all that you’ve done before, to try to be the best that you can be. But even more than that, it ignites your passion towards being a musician in a way that releasing a single or two just doesn’t do – at least for me. An album just seems so epic in comparison, & it really made my day when it was published to Amazon MP3 & became available for all my lovely listeners – that’s you! – to hear. I put a lot of work into the album & it all paid off. I am absolutely in love with my album, & I hope that you will be too. You can stream it for free on  Soundcloud and YouTube, in case you’d like to listen to it in its entirety before checking it out on Amazon.

Here’s the track listing!

1. Great Day (3:16)

2. Shooting Star (3:14)

3. The Strength of Hope (3:26)

4. You’ll Never Own Me (3:50)

5. I Tried in the Night (5:32)

6. I Know You Can Make It (4:23)

7. I’m Going Out to Be Free (8:14)

8. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (5:03)

9. Great Day (Reprise) (1:23)

 

As always, I hope that you have an absolutely amazing day!

Ashlee-Craft copy

Everything is Going to Be Amazing – A Poem by Ashlee Craft

Here’s a poem from my upcoming poetry book, A Thousand Cranes – Volume 6.

 

Everything is Going to Be Amazing

 

I have doubted the rising sun

until I realized it would always rise again

 

I have doubted the moon who smiles upon me

until I realized I would always be loved

 

I have doubted the stars that shine so brightly

until I realized they shine for me

 

I have doubted the gift of happiness

until I realized it was there for me too

 

I have doubted the soul inside me

until I realized I was infinite

 

I have doubted that the future could be good

until I realized everything is going to be amazing now

 

© 2014 Ashlee Craft

This is a New Chapter

Books

 

This is a New Chapter

this is a new chapter in my life / things have never been this amazing before / for the first time in my life I really feel like I am getting somewhere / for the first time, I don’t have any shadowing & lingering doubts, no fearful & shrouded questions of whether or not things will be okay / now, there is no doubt in my mind I’m where I’m meant to be

I walked into the dusty room on a late afternoon when the house was silent / doves cooed in the rafters of the old attic; slowly I made my way across the floor to the old wood chest where my grandma kept her things when she was younger / the lid creaked & I opened it revealing Pandora’s box beneath the hidden dust rewritten over the years but still spelling out the same thing / she had left this box to me so long ago (she said inside the box was everything I needed to know for life) & yet I’d never had the courage to open it & see what was inside

& to my surprise my sight fell upon stacks & stacks of books, jumbled together all shapes & colors & sizes / none of the books had any titles on them, elusive mysteries – I reach out & grasp one in my hand, feeling the sun warmed cover in the attic & seeing sparkling yellow glow of dust gently floating like feathers / I open the book & I cannot believe what I see

this book is empty / there is nothing written upon the pages, no inscription / only a black & startling emptiness / I pick up the next book & see that it is empty too / every book is the same / empty / empty / empty / her life advice was nothing; she left nothing to me but blank gaping books & disappointment

I sit on the floor my heart feeling heavy / so her life advice to me has been nothing? so she knew that life meant nothing & was nothing, & that it would be the same way for me? / I let my arm drop to my side & I rest my chin on my knees for a few minutes & breathe in the stale dusty air & feel comforting sunlight kissing my skin

& it is at that moment that it all makes sense to me, & the warmth of the book spreads up my hands & somehow finds its way into my heart & mind / only then do I understand the meaning of this gift

she has not left me nothing, but rather, everything / she has not left me with the idea that life is nothing & that nothing is the only advice she can give me / she instead gave me something much greater than a whole chestful of filled books could provide, nor a thousand hours of unquenched speeches, nor a lifetime of personal experience could give me

she gave me these blank books so that I could fill them with my own story / she gave them to me because she knew that your life only belongs to you & you have to find out the meaning of it for yourself; no one can make your choices for you, no one can help you find the path; no one can be your hero but you / here I came expecting to find heroic words written on paper that would tell me who I should be, but instead, I found a blank canvas / & that is beautiful

perhaps the emptiness is most beautiful of all at the start / where there is nothing you have the ability to create anything / where there is emptiness you have the chance to blot it out with happiness & your own light; you have the chance to make it whatever you want

these books are now mine because she wanted me to find out who I was & to be unafraid to record it & prove to myself my own reality / she wanted me not to rely on the heroism of others, but instead find this strength inside my very own soul, a strength that could sustain me no matter what happened, no matter what the odds were, no matter where I was or what I did / she wanted me to be my own hero

& so I jumped up from the floor, still clasping the first empty book in my hands / I bolted down the stairs, shouting, “I am the captain of my soul!” & as I ran, blotting out the emptiness & loneliness that had plagued me for so long, casting it off me like a dusty cloak & leaving it abandoned on the roof until the rain would wash it away & it would all be in the non-existent past

I grabbed a pen & on the first page I wrote, “today, my life begins” & sitting there on the cool tile kitchen floor, I wrote out the first page of my journey, beginning with my discovery, & ending with a promise

from now on, I am going to be the hero of my story / these blank books are mine to write in / let me fill them up with glorious stories, beautiful loves, impossible miracles that happened anyways, & the everyday profundities of life / but more than that, let me fill them up with the unending promise that no matter what, I am going to be the hero of my story

 

because after all this time, I’m not afraid anymore

because after all this time, I know I really can do this

& because after all this time, a new chapter has begun

 

© 2014 Ashlee Craft

Little Bird Sample Chapter

Little Bird

 

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Kindle eBook

 

Little Bird

a little bird

hopping along

thru the impending

rainstorm

persevering

& finding what thrives

amongst the raindrops

The Journey Begins

setting out in the

early morning just as the

sun is beginning to rise

with a pack on your back containing everything you’ll need

to find yourself along the way

a map of your soul to show you where to go

a compass to tell you when you’re in the right place

a flashlight to guide you thru the dark forests

a set of wings to help you fly over obstacles

a raft to go on the ocean with

words of wisdom to sustain you

a book of knowledge to feed your mind

a journey to record what you see

& your own soul

you walk for a while & suddenly

it occurs to you that you don’t really know

who you are

or where you’re going

& all the road around you looks unfamiliar

& your compass is spinning

& your map blows away

suddenly you know it’s up to you to find your way

you know something has to change

but you’re worried

you’re worried that you won’t like things once they’re different

worried that things will turn out wrong

it’s okay to be worried

but you’ve got to learn to let go

because until you let go

there’s no way you’ll ever know

just how far you can

fly

Welcome

the journey just beginning / a journey to discover what you want / what your dreams are / where you belong / who you are / the journey is just beginning / the magic carpet of infinite possibilities & infinite joy & infinite beauty surrounding you everywhere / everything you need is right in front of you / everything you’ve ever needed has always been within your grasp / you are not lacking anything / you are everything

you can make your dreams come true / I believe in you / I believe in you / I know you can do it all if you just keep trying / you’ll make it

as you take a walk thru the pages & you skip around & stop to contemplate what the meaning of life really is, remember this

many have searched / & spent lifetimes pondering / thinking / dreaming / about what life is about / but in truth / you could never find the definition of life

because it’s too infinite & too wonderful & too beautiful & too free

to define / if you look for the meaning to everybody’s life / it takes you back to the beginning of the circle / back to / where you started / where it all began /

because in truth / the only truth is the truth within / the only meaning of life / is what you say it is / what you get out of life / what you want out of life / what guides you / what makes you smile / what makes your spirit soar / what makes you feel alive

that’s what life is about

& remember this – life is what you make it

make it fantastic

there is only one meaning to your life

to make it your own

Something Wonderful

always believe that something wonderful is about to happen / because it is / your life is going to be wonderful / today will be wonderful / tomorrow will be even better / your dreams will all come true / good luck will follow you everywhere / strangers will show you random acts of kindness today / you’ll see many examples of just how beautiful the world is / you’ll find something you’ve searched for a long time to find / you’ll discover a piece of yourself that was missing / every day is a new life waiting to be discovered / every day is another chance / every day is a canvas just waiting to be painted upon / make it beautiful

Learning to Find My Strength

I’m learning

learning

who I am

& learning to go confidently

to where I feel is right

I’m tired of being afraid

afraid that things won’t work out

afraid that I’ll never be good enough

afraid that I’m really a failure deep down inside

I’m tired of being confined

tired of being chained to things which no longer hold true

tired of being confined to these molds

tired of being held back by my insecurities

I’m tired of this sorrow

sorrow that I’m not going anywhere

sorrow that drags me down

sorrow that tells me that I can’t do it

I’m ready to prove all of them wrong

& show them

what it means to fly

I Feel Like You’ve Forgotten Me

there used to be something real, something tangible between us / me sitting there, all those times, all those hours months days, warmed by the glow of your kind words & communications & looking forward to seeing you / sometimes it wasn’t much – just a quick note to say you were thinking about me – but it was enough / it was enough & you were always there for me / & I thought I could always count on that – you being there

but you’re not / you’re not there any longer / by choice choosing to leave it all behind / & when I discovered what I discovered I felt like I didn’t know you any longer

& I’m glad / so glad / that I didn’t waste my time trying to forge a deeper well within the grasp of your abilities / I’m glad I didn’t seek out closer companionship / because things would still be the same

& it’s not the fact that you’re leaving that upsets me / it’s your choice & you’re free to choose what you want to / you’re free to say goodbye if you wish to do so / it’s your loss / you’re the only one who’s missing out / & I understand why you were so slow & subtle about it all – maybe I felt the same way, with my dwindling words written to you & everything / maybe I felt that it was nearing its close / you’re free to move on – & maybe it’s time / you’re not the person I used to know / maybe it’s time you moved on & went with everyone else that you know & love / because I know that for such a long time you never even told me anything about yourself / things I’m sure everyone else knew / I have no problem with moving on

but what upsets me / the only thing that upsets me is that for such a long time I had this false sense of companionship / & suddenly that’s gone / suddenly there’s no one else to depend upon / & I’m all on my own / all on my own / all on my own again / & it’s a loneliness that sometimes nothing breaks thru / you were there – or rather, my illusion of what I thought you were – & to that, I could relate to / in that I found comfort / you were that connection to the world outside / & now it’s just me / me & them / swirling around in some kind of roundabout of only us only us only us / like there’s no one else / like I’m alone / like I’m the only one

The Wheel

it’s all up to me

it’s all up to me

where I go & what I do & who I decide to become & who I am

it’s all up to me it’s all up to me

& you’re certainly not going to stop me

or stand in my way

I don’t like your definitions

of what a life is supposed to be like

wake eat work sleep

& do it all over again

all the way until you die

but with that schedule

it’s like you die inside much sooner

or never begin to live at all

you tell me what I’m supposed to like

supposed to do

but I don’t believe you

I don’t believe you

the wheel keeps turning

& I keep changing

Sometimes I Just Don’t Know

sometimes I just don’t know

what I’m even doing

or where I’m going

but then something reminds me

why I keep trying

sometimes days aren’t good

sometimes I miss out

& end up at the bottom once again

but I know I’ll climb again the next day

climbing with the sun as it rises

& there’s so many good things in each & every day

even if things go wrong & I fall

so much happiness

even if I don’t comprehend, understand, or see any at all

sometimes I just don’t know why I try

my mind says that it’s no use & I’m wasting my time

but my heart says I’ll reach it & I’m doing fine

I always try to listen to my heart

it knows the way

sometimes I wonder why I keep moving on

but then I remember

why I began in the first place

I remember that it’s time to move out of this place

away from here

away from my sorrows

away from my fears

it’s time for me to become something big

instead of this person who hides

under the leaves at the base of the tree

it’s time that I was the person I’ve always known I was

it’s time I was free

sometimes I don’t know how I’ll do it

everything seems to be going wrong

sometimes

everything seems to be going against me

like swimming in the sea

but I’ve built wings

they’re getting stronger every day

& with these wings I have built

I’ll fly over the sea & away

away away

far away, far from here

to the land I have dreamed of

to the meadows of gold

it’s my destiny, it’s all up to me

my choices are mine alone

I think I should start following my heart

learning to trust that it knows where to go

even when I do not

I think I should learn to trust my heart

it knows the way

it knows what will make me happy

it knows what I want & it knows what I need

encourages me onwards, gives me strength to succeed

I trust in my heart because it is my map

& in following it, I cannot lack

it knows where I should be

& how to get there

I will follow my heart

I will follow it thru doors to anywhere

if I follow my heart, I cannot go wrong

& I’m just learning

that I am so strong

Dreams

dream / dream wildly & freely / dream as freely as birds fly in the sky, as the planets rotate, as stars shine / dream as freely as the flowers bloom, as the trees wave in the breeze, as the ocean waves crash upon the gentle shore / dream as freely as beams of sunlight shine, music floating thru the air, as freely as wishes floating thru the night sky & to the stars / there are no limits to dreams

dreams are beautiful / it is our dreams that show us who we truly are

do not ask yourself what the world needs / ask yourself what makes you come alive & go do it / the world needs people who have come alive & you ought to be one of them / the world needs people who live life the way they believe / the world needs people who believe / believe in themselves & believe in their dreams

the world needs you

go out there & do it

(c) 2013 Ashlee Craft

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Kindle eBook

An Interview With Myself on Writing

Hello everyone! I’ve decided to do an interview with myself – I’m going to list out some questions I think are interesting, and I am going to answer them in this post! I think it’s a great way to tell you all a little about my writing, music, and everything else that I enjoy doing. I hope you like it!

Oh, and by the way, if you have any questions YOU’D like to ask me, feel totally free to ask the question in the comments box, and I will reply as soon as I can!

***

 
(it is a dark and stormy night. in the background, there is the sound of torrential rain and thunder claps. the opening scene is of a somewhat dark room with forest green plush carpeting, dark blue paneled walls with a few paintings of still life flowers, and a brown wooden baseboard. in the center of this room is a white couch covered in stiff yet soft fabric, and across from this is a hard-backed chair. the entire room is lit from yellow-tinged lamps on the end tables of the couch. Ashlee Craft, the subject of this interview, sits on the couch with her legs crossed at the ankles. she is wearing a purple polo shirt and a pair of black pants; her shoulder-length hair is wavy and brown, and she looks comfortable yet ready for a cascade of questions. across from her is the interviewer, a mysterious looking person wearing dark glasses, a black blazer, and a pair of pinstriped pants. in between the two of them is a low coffee table, upon which sits two white teacups, one filled with coffee, the other with green tea. Ashlee nods once at the interviewer, signifying that it is time to begin)
 

Q: So, tell me how you got interested in music and writing. When did it all start?

A: Well, when I was about ten years old, I became really into films. My mom was interested in screenplay writing, and so she had all these books around about screenwriting and stuff. Me, being the reading lover that I was (my library card was ALWAYS maxed out when I was growing up, and it still is now), decided to look at the books and see what they said. My family watched a few movies every week, and it was around this time that I decided I wanted to make a movie because I was obsessed with movies, characters, and the people who played them. So, I began on my first “screenplay”, a story about talking rabbits and their eleven-year-old owner. After writing the screenplay for a bit, I realized that it would be easier to make it into a book, so I started turning it into a book instead. I finished this book, and although the story wasn’t very good, I was pleased to have written something of reasonable length. From there, I wrote several more stories, mostly about kids my age and the pets that they had. It’s funny how a lot of books I write initially were screenplays (or half-finished ones) – my first book, Strange Occurrences, started out as a screenplay I began writing when I was thirteen. Anyways, when I was fourteen, I decided that I wanted to make it into a book instead because it would be easier, and sitting on a bed in a hotel room during my move to Florida, I wrote the first pages to Strange Occurrences. I worked on the book for a long time after that. After many revisions, when I was sixteen, I finished it.

(the interviewer nods and makes a few notes at this point, before looking back up at Ashlee and asking the next question)

Q: How did you publish your first book?

A: I sent samples of my manuscript, as well as query letters, to several publishing houses. After I received rejections from each one, I decided to take my publishing into my own hands. I learned about Amazon Kindle and their program that allowed people to publish their books there. At first, I was opposed to the idea of self publishing because it didn’t seem as “glamorous” to me as being published with a traditional publisher, but soon I came to see that it was just as valuable. So I created a cover for my book, prepared it for publication, and on April 4th, 2011, I published Strange Occurrences.

(here, Ashlee pauses, adjusts the caramel colored glasses on her faces, and takes a sip of green tea from the cup in front of her. the expression on her face is one of eagerness. outside, the rain has slowed a little, although frequent crashes of thunder punctuate this conversation. there is also a strange air of silence in this room, as though someone is waiting for something to happen)

Q: How has your writing progressed since then?

A: Since the publication of Strange Occurrences, I have written and published a total of 37 books in a variety of genres – poetry, juvenile fiction, juvenile non-fiction, children’s books, young adult novels, non-fiction, mysteries, drama novels, suspense books, and art books. I am currently working on many, many books – I definitely like to multitask and have a revolving set of books that I work on whenever I feel like it. That keeps me from getting bored, and because I have so many ideas for books, it makes me happiest to have many options for what I want to work on. At the moment, I’m working on a motivational book, the 6th volume of my A Thousand Cranes series, Art Poems – Volume 3, and an experimental novel.

Q: What is the best thing about writing?

A: What I absolutely love about writing is how it allows me to express myself on paper. As I’ve often said before, when I write, it’s like I am documenting who I am on paper. How I am at this exact moment will be forever frozen into anything I write, and when I look back on it, I can see exactly who I was then, what I was thinking and feeling – it’s actually a lot like looking at old photographs of yourself. Another thing I adore about writing is the fact that when I publish something, I have the knowledge that other people in the world as going to read what I have written. People that I don’t know, people I may never know, and yet I am reaching out across the expanse of time and space, and I am handing them my book. They are seeing and feeling and knowing how I felt, what I want, who I am. They are strangers to me, and yet, there is this connection between us. It’s just an amazing feeling to think that people out there own my books and have read them, and I really, really hope that they are inspired by what I write. Even though it’s a cliche, if only one person was inspired because of something I wrote, then that would make it worthwhile. But writing is so much more than that. It’s my way of interacting with the big wild world. It’s my way of reaching out and inspiring people’s lives, or at the very least, brightening their day. When I write, I am giving back to the literary world, I am giving back to all the books and authors and characters that have changed my life and brought me so much inspiration, guidance, and happiness. It’s my way of thanking them.

(the interviewer smiles quickly and glances down at the coffee cup, which has not been touched yet, then sits up a little straighter, somehow seeming nervous. Ashlee smiles reassuringly, not sure why the interviewer has changed demeanor so greatly. she is also wondering if the power is going to go out – the storm is returning, and the lights flickered once during the middle of the last question. she is a great lover of drama, and the power going out briefly is certainly a source of this)

Q: What do you like least about writing?

A: Hands down, the answer to that is editing. If I could snap my fingers (here, she snaps her fingers) and have the book be completely edited just the way I want it to be, I would do that in a heartbeat. I love writing books, I love publishing them and preparing the cover and everything, but editing  - even though it is super important and the book takes shape most during this period – editing is mundane and takes forever. After reading your book several times through to make sure there isn’t any errors, it starts annoying you, and you just wish it could be finished. That’s really the only thing I don’t like very much about writing.

(there is a slightly longer pause between the end of Ashlee’s answer and the beginning of the next question. this is due to the fact that the interviewer keeps shuffling around in the hard backed chair and performing an elaborate and unnecessarily long knuckle-cracking session. finally, after more than a minute of silence, the interviewer speaks again)

Q: What advice do you have for other authors, especially self-published ones?

A: (Ashlee chuckles) I have certainly learned a lot about publishing in the past few years, and I could write a book about tips on writing books – perhaps that should be one of my next projects! – but here are the main things I’ve learned. Make sure you have a book cover – yes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people will and do. Your cover is most likely going to be the first thing they see when they discover your book. Promote your book as much as you can. I made the mistake of writing books but never really trying to get people to see them and buy them, and so, I sold very few books. If people don’t see your books, they aren’t going to buy them. Keep writing. Write as much as you can, explore other genres that you personally enjoy reading, hone your skills. Try your best and find your own unique voice – draw inspiration from many people and don’t aspire to be like one person in particular. Learn from writers that you love, as well as writers that you don’t like. Read. Read a lot, read everything you can find. Realize why you like the books you like, and what things you don’t like in a book. But keep writing. Even if it seems like everything you write sounds lame/stupid/boring etc, keep writing. You will get better at it. And never, ever give up on yours. You can do anything you want if you keep trying.

(at this point, the interviewer is sitting there fidgeting more than ever. Ashlee looks over at the interviewer, now very curious as to what the interviewer’s problem is. the interview suddenly, after trembling for several seconds, jumps abruptly out of the uncomfortable chair. the rain is pouring outside harder than ever, and the room seems darker than before. “are you okay?” Ashlee asks, watching as the interviewer hops around, the sunglasses falling somewhat askew. all of a sudden, the interviewer stops hopping around, stands completely still for several seconds, and rapidly dissolves into a pile of words and old newspaper clippings. Ashlee is shocked, but she gets up and walks towards the pile of paper that is now on the floor where the interviewer had been standing. she notices that the words lying on the floor are all things that she has written before, and that the entire interview had all been an illusion.
 
at this point, a particularly loud crash of thunder occurs, and the power goes out.)