Hello, my name is Ashley. A lot of my friends call me Ash.
I am most likely different from any person you have ever met. That used to bother me, but now I embrace myself and try to push myself to grow.
This is going to be a little long. I grappled with the idea of making this short and sweet, but that's not really my style and I want to be true to myself. This page is about connecting and letting you all know what kind of person I am.
Don't let me fool you with my glossy photos and seemingly amazing achievements. I'm just as flawed (if not more so) as everyone else is. I try to talk about my faults, fears and failings in my writing. I believe an honest artist is true to themselves, despite the personal criticism they may receive.
I have a 99% complete collection of the X-Men '95 Fleer trading cards, I still own my original Ninja Turtle action figures, kept all of the model Gundams I built back in the day, and one of the prized possessions on my book shelf is my cartridge of Final Fantasy 2 for the SNES--in the original box. I'm into comics and film, and I enjoy finding music that I've never heard before. I listen to all genres.
I grew up all over the world.
Hemingway once said, "In order to write about life first you must live."
I dove the reefs off the north of Panama, snorkeled The Great Barrier Reef and The Red Sea; I have ridden a camel next to The Great Pyramids, visited Stonehenge, the massive palaces of South Korea, the castles of England and Scotland, the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia, the beaches of Puerto Rico, Panama, Key West, The Cayman Islands, Hawaii, Guam, and Jamaica. I've skied the Swiss Alps and I've backpacked portions of the Appalachian Trail. I have been lucky, and lived what I believe to be a very fulfilling life thus far.
I grew up all over the world, to lower-middle class parents that met while they were enlisted in the Air Force. After Desert Storm, my Father was one of the many members of the military forced out by the downsizing--ironically an aspect of military service that I am also currently experiencing. My parents declared bankruptcy while my Father was working three jobs and we lived in my grandparents' old home in New Jersey. Then Dad got a job as a contractor and we moved to Saudi Arabia to continue our adventures.
I've always been sort of silly.
I joined the Boy Scouts in Saudi and eventually made Eagle Scout when I was seventeen. I learned to skim board and ride four wheelers when we lived in Daytona Beach. I was the captain of my small soccer team in high school and I drew obsessively--even considered art school--but it was West Point that called me. It was there that I became a fitness junky.
My Father was always forced to live away from us in order to accommodate our lifestyle. He was a truck driver, worked on satellites, and most often worked on aircraft as a crew chief throughout his life. Once we left Saudi, he eventually decided to join the Merchant Marines so that he could complete the nine years of service he had left for his government retirement.
I am a part of an interesting section of American society that the military folks affectionately call the Warrior Elite or Warrior Class. Which is to say that my family members often choose to serve in the military. My Father is now serving in the Merchant Marines, I'm in the Army, and my brother is in the Marines. Dad's Father was in WWII as a combat engineer. Mom's Father was in the Merchant Marines. My Great Uncle Tony lived through Normandy, and my wife's side of the family has just as much heritage dating back to the Civil War.
My hobby is creating. My dream is to make my hobby my day job.
I absolutely struggled at West Point, academically. I found an escape in fitness and in learning about leadership. I spent time there participating in intramural grappling and flickerball, making silly videos, and playing Frisbee at Trophy Point on warm spring days.
West Point was the hardest experience of my life.
I graduated West Point in 2009, where I majored in Sociology--a major that has very much shaped the entirety of my adult life. I fell in love with film at the academy, and was given a lot of opportunities--including walking down the red carpet at a Spike Lee premier, and seeing a number of other film premiers in NYC for smaller documentaries. I met Martin Scorsese and Michael Uslan, and a variety of other noteworthy individuals in the film industry.
By the time I was a senior (called a Firstie there), I was known as the video guy and had two nicknames: Holzmania and The Artist.
I was also known as the guy who owned a VW bus.
My senior year was a year of outrageous experiences. Sometimes fueled by me; other times fueled by the amazingly interesting people I surrounded myself with.
I drove the bus across the country twice. Often by myself. Sometimes with my brother during breaks from school.
We used to drive it to places on the weekends and park on the roofs of parking garages. We'd go out and stumble back to the bus to crash on the beds inside of it. We'd pop the top and fold out the bed in the interior and crash for the night. Then we'd wash up in the sink and change if we needed to with the clothes we'd stash in the closet. Yeah. It was the best thing I've ever bought. My father owns it now and takes care of it these days.
I took the bus to Airborne School.
I did not graduate at the top of my class. Quite the opposite. I was a summer grad, graduating at the bottom. I won't bore you with the details of my military career, but it turned out that my academic standings at West Point were not an indicator of my future military performance.
I have done well for myself and exceeded my initial expectations of what I would be capable of. My life has often been about overcoming odds. I have since learned that a GPA is just a number, and I refuse to let the numbers define me.
I have served my country all over the world.
My current rank is Captain. I have deployed to Afghanistan and Central America, was stationed in South Korea for two years, and have earned my fifteen pieces of flair. I love serving my country, but have, at times, grappled with whether or not I would stay in. My current plan is to stay and retire from the military, but everyone who has served will tell you that plans change.
But these are my personal and professional accomplishments.
My family is what I'm truly proud of.
My kids take up most of my free time. I really enjoy showing them the world and giving them reasons to smile.
I wish I could put out more creative stuff more frequently, but I wouldn't trade the time I spend with my family for the world.
My family is my American Dream come true.
There are three little Holzmann's in our house, and two 100 pound dogs. One is my Boerboel, Kato. Roxy is our blue Great Dane. I love wrestling with Kato and teaching him new tricks. He can be a handful. I trained him to be a guard dog while I'm away on deployments.
Kato does his job a little too well. It takes a bit of time to introduce him to new people. The plus side is that he loves our family, and I'm absolutely convinced that he would lay down his life for the kids if the moment ever came. He's a great dog.
Roxy barks a lot and is basically a massive cat. She's useless in almost everything, except that she has better ears than Kato and she's the one who gets him hyped up to defend the house against the mailman, local kids running around the fence, and squirrels.
My wife is truly my partner.
There have been ups and downs throughout our relationship, but that is true of all relationships.
My wife and I are truly partners and I consider her more than my equal. She completely balances me and keeps me grounded when my head is in the clouds. When I am depressed, she finds ways to show me love. When I am away, she keeps me connected to the world.
I found the perfect woman when I found her.
I try not to let my job define me.
Sometimes I have to jump out of airplanes. Sometimes I have to do really intense things. I enjoy the experiences, but when I take off the uniform, I'm still my own person. I'm a Soldier, but I'm also a husband, a father, a writer, and an artist.
This site is the hub for all of my creative endeavors. I thought about making it this niche horror site, or just a place to post about my fiction writing, but that's such a small part of me. This site is for the creative me. The part of me that wants to continue to explore the world, doodles in the car during my lunch break, and writes poetry. I want to continue to learn more about myself and continue to explore the essence of my creativity.
I love to teach myself stuff. I taught myself everything I needed to learn to design this website, for example. I flexed my graphic design skills for the cover of The Laws of Nature, and I taught myself how to do book interior designs so that I could do the interior of that collection.
Some of my dedication is due to the micro budget I am currently running on. I'm just starting out, after all. I also really enjoy the process of learning. If you haven't realized already, I can be a bit obsessive. That is also a factor.
I like being creative in all aspects of my life. I often draw my own tattoos or design them.
The day I stop learning will be the last day I spend on this Earth. The excitement of learning something new makes me feel insignificant when I begin, and accomplished when I reach a level I'm comfortable with. Sometimes I feel empty at the end of a project and I have to force myself to start something new to fill that gap.
The world is a beautiful place and life is amazing. I only wish I had more time to spend here--so I may as well make the best of what little time there is.
I want to surprise you. I want to surprise myself.
I've been writing a lot of horror, lately, but I don't believe in limiting myself to a single genre or medium. The last thing I want to do is put myself into a box.
The plan is to expand out. Horror is the place I'm cutting my teeth, and I will always revisit the genre, but I also want to continue to grow and explore.
I also have a profile on Smashwords that includes an interview I did for Smashwords. There's more tidbits there if you want to continue to read about me. There's a lengthier version of that interview on Nosleep Interviews. Sometimes I am interviewed by other blogs. Here's one I did for Pebble in the Still Waters.
Feel free to contact me whenever about anything. My Follow Me page is a great way to find out the best ways to get in touch.
If you want to to be in the know, there's an email list sign up just below. Sign up and receive a free exclusive novella (a continuation of a story from The Laws of Nature). That's also the best place to receive updates about my projects and releases.
Thanks for joining me in my crazy adventures. It's going to be a wild ride.