Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Tonya B. Ashley & Of Faith and Dreams

Posted April 16, 2024 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, giveaway, historical, romance, Tonya B. Ashley / 40 Comments

Tonya B Ashley guest post

I am so delighted to welcome author Tonya B. Ashley back to the blog today to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Of Faith and Dreams! Happy Release Day, Tonya!

Of Faith and Dreams by Tonya B. AshleyOF FAITH AND DREAMS by Tonya B. Ashley
Lost and Found #1
GENRE: Historical Western Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Scrivenings Press
RELEASE DATE: April 16, 2024
PAGES: 337


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Dialogue: The Seasoning of a Well-flavored Story

by Tonya B. Ashley, author of Of Faith and Dreams

Authors are often asked about the ingredients for a good story, and while the recipes vary from genre to genre there are some shared ingredients. The plot makes for a great dish, a way to deliver the story to the table. Every story is going to have meat and potatoes–characters and setting. But dialogue is the ingredient that quickly and easily adds a punch of flavor.

I love to season my stories with dialogue. Come to think of it, I write much like I cook. I always think of flavor first. If I grab the oregano and rosemary, it’s Italian night. Curry, we might be having Indian or Thai. Dialogue is a powerful way to season fiction. It helps the author establish the time period, culture and geography, and characters’ ages, educational backgrounds, genders, social statuses, and more. It’s no surprise lines of dialogue are the first things to come to mind as I write.

My novel, Of Faith and Dreams, is set in 1849 in Van Buren, Arkansas. Westward Expansion was still in its early stages and Van Buren sat at the edge of Indian Territory. For prospectors heading west, it would be one of the last civilized towns in which to gather supplies. But it would have also had a bit of a Wild West flavor with its billiard hall, saloon, and mix of gamblers and ruffians alongside its hard-working farmers and tradesmen.

In my fictional version of Van Buren, my goal was to weave together the sweetness of Janette Oke’s frontier stories with the untamed adventure of Western fiction. So, I dove headlong into researching frontier and Western words, phrases, slang, idioms, colloquialisms, etc. I enjoy research, but this may be the most fun I’ve ever had doing it. The research was interesting and colorful.

I collected more than I could use in one story. I didn’t want to oversalt the story after all. So I sprinkled in some words and phrases readers of historical fiction might expect, like “cotton to” for “liked” or words that made an easy trade, like “disremember” in place of “forget.” This frontier/Western dialogue proved useful in establishing relationships. One example is when Sam Mooney, the older general store owner and longtime family friend, says to the main character, Justin Hogue, “Weren’t long ago you were between grass and hay,” meaning neither man nor boy, half grown.

Some of my favorites ended up in the discard pile for this story. Here are a few I’ll put back in the pantry until next time:

Barkin’ at a knot – doing something useless

A bag of nails – a state of confusion

All down but nine – missed the point (references missing all nine pins in bowling)

Of course, my favorite line that made it into the story is uttered by Justin Hogue. Justin will not tolerate the abuse of an animal. So, when he happens across a horse being mistreated, he says to the owner, “Tell you what. I’ll sky a copper for it.” Of course, there are stakes for both parties in tossing a penny for this horse as Justin agrees to give up some vital information if he loses, but “sky a copper” sure makes Justin sound cool and confident. I hope you’ll read to discover how the toss turns out!

Tonya B. Ashley

Tonya B. Ashley makes her novel debut with Of Faith and Dreams, the Book One in the Lost and Found Series. Tonya enjoys a thread of adventure, whether in story or life. Fascinated with people, places, and nature, she loves to explore through writing, reading, hiking, and artwork.

She and her firefighter/paramedic husband are parents of a middle-school son who is teaching himself electric guitar and an adult son, a newly married firefighter. They’re delighted to add a girl to the bunch in the form of a precious daughter-in-law who is a nurse. Connect with Tonya on Facebook.

Of Faith and Dreams giveaway

Tonya B. Ashley is offering a print copy of Of Faith and Dreams to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Of Faith and Dreams by Tonya B. Ashley? Which ‘westernism’ that Tonya shared is your fave?

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40 responses to “Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Tonya B. Ashley & Of Faith and Dreams

    • Tonya Ashley

      That’s one of my favorite things about reading (and writing). We get to explore places we’re not so familiar with. Books are a great way to travel – geographically and through time!

  1. Roxanne C.

    I certainly enjoyed the author’s view on dialogue and all the interesting terms and sayings that she shared.

  2. Patty

    I love stories about the settling of the American west, and about the people who were pioneers of the time.

  3. Sue Parrish

    I have been to Van Buren, AR, and didn’t realize that it had a history like this. The story sounds very interesting.

    • Tonya Ashley

      I had to dig a little deeper to discover some of Van Buren’s “Wild West” history. Much of its history is entwined neighboring Fort Smith, so it gets missed unless you dig into the history of both towns. That’s the fun thing about history, though, there’s always more to discover.

    • Tonya

      Scrivenings Press blows me away with their book covers every time. I hope you enjoy the story. It was definitely an adventure to write!

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