Gloversville native set to release book



For The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE — Accomplished journalist Susan Ashline is just days away from her official release of the book she proposed just a little over a year ago. Ashline, a native of Gloversville, plans to mark the release of her much anticipated first book — a true life crime story — with an event to be held in Gloversville.

The conversation, question and answer session and book signing will take place at the Gloversville Public Library’s Carnegie room in September. Ashline, who now resides in the Rochester area, said copies of her book, “Without a Prayer,” will be available for purchase at the event. She said she will also be speaking at the Gloversville Retired Teachers Association luncheon, and while this event is not open to the public, she happily accepted the invitation because both of her parents were teachers in the Gloversville City School District.

“My father was a beloved guidance counselor at the high school and my mother was a teacher, so it is a nice tie-in. Everyone knew my dad, when you said his name — Don Ashline — someone always knew him,” said Ashline.

Ashline has maintained a long and successful career in journalism, including television broadcasting and print media. Her understanding of the court system, thanks to her reporting days, has helped her to tell this story in an accurate, yet respectful way. She said reporting is something that has been engraved in her for as long as she can remember.

“I have always loved to write, really since I was eight years old. I carried around a notebook and was always writing,” said Ashline.

Ashline said that the first step in getting something published is to write a proposal that will peak enough interest to even get to a manuscript stage. Initially she said she was searching for a good crime story, but she found that her feelings very quickly evolved.

“I almost immediately felt a connection to this story and although I wasn’t happy about the story itself, the reality is that I quickly became attached to it, protective of it,” said Ashline.

The book, “Without a Prayer: The Death of Lucas Leonard and How One Church Became a Cult”, by Pegasus Books, tells the story of Lucas Leonard, 19, beaten to death by members of a religious cult, including his father, mother, and sister. The cult was a well-kept secret in the Utica area and gained nationwide attention for its brutality and abuse. Ashline said she worked closely with the victim’s sister and even visited the father in prison. She said the story is complex and has so many layers, and throughout writing the story, she worked hard to remain mindful of the complexity of it.

“It was six months of 15 hour days. Everyone who I spoke with was so cooperative. When I first started out I literally went knocking on doors to speak with people, and everyone answered. It was so unexpected, “ said Ashline.

The book is already receiving positive reviews from places like Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal, who have each given “Without a Prayer” a starred review, an exceptional merit. A starred review is considered the most prestigious honor bestowed upon an author. On Amazon, the book earned the title of No. 1 Best New Release, competing with books already released.

Ashline has already submitted a proposal for her second book that she says tells the story of a family who was kidnapped in Rochester in 2006.

Details on the Gloversville library event can be found on Facebook at You can find Ashline’s book at all major retailers, including online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

By Patricia Older

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