Feature Friday Signup for Love or Money

I know this blog is massively spammy lately. I really do want to write some interesting articles, but with the holidays, along with finishing the final proofread of Love or Money and starting edits on both the YA and the adult novels I just finished, I just haven’t been motivated to write a blog post.

What I should write about is the difficulty of marketing a novel, especially a debut novel, without being seen as being spammy. However, since I’m probably the worst marketer in the world, I’m not sure I’d have much input on the subject.

All that being said, I’m going to post a link here where you can sign up to participate in Love or Money’s “Feature Friday”, which will occur on January 15th, the Friday following its release. This is another chance to get a free e-copy, as long as you have a blog on which to post your review. Once again, I don’t care if you post a thousand words of gushing praise; a long, bitter rant about how the novel is another nail in society’s coffin; or just a one word review: “Meh.” Any publicity is good publicity for me at this point. I’m sort of loading this book into a cannon and firing it blindly into the dark, hoping it hits a few people. Any of you who wish to join my marketing militia, and be outfitted with your own literary bazooka, you have my undying gratitude, because this stuff is more crazy-making than you’d think.

HERE IS THE LINK: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Vjl3yCjdMWMnJKlHFcOpigyZaq0zWgbagamR05-RfFs/viewform

And also, Happy Holidays!

Review of In the Shadow of the Shield By Carolyn Laroche

I had the pleasure of reading In the Shadow of the Shield by Carolyn Laroche. It’s a contemporary romantic suspense novel, the second in the Secret Lives series. I haven’t read the first book and the series, and I didn’t feel ungrounded at all when I read this one.

After Diana Massey watches her husband, an officer in the Virginia Beach Police Department, die suddenly and suspiciously after a routine emergency call, she sets out to find answers.

Those answers could prove as deadly to her as they did her husband. When she begins to uncover a web of lies, crime, and corruption in her late husband’s department, she starts to receive death threats, and worse. Luckily, she has backup in the form of Carter Ryan, her late husband’s protégée, who vows to protect her and help her get to the bottom of her husband’s death. But can Diana handle the guilt and uncertainty she feels when she begins to fall for the handsome younger cop? Her husband, her high school sweetheart and the only man she ever loved, has only been dead a year, and she isn’t sure if she’s ready to move on.

This was a fast-paced book with plenty of action, and plenty of emotion. The romance was mature and sweet, with just a little bit of spice. I recommend it as an entertaining way to pass those long winter evenings. You can purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Shield-Secret-Lives-Series-ebook/dp/B018W98LEW

WIN A FREE SIGNED COPY OF LOVE OR MONEY!!!

Hey, wonderful people! I’m having a contest to give away a FREE SIGNED COPY of my debut LGBT erotic thriller novel, Love or Money! Here’s how it works:

The contest begins now, and ends on January 2, 2016, the date that Love or Money becomes available by preorder.

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All you have to do to enter is:
1. “like” my Facebook author page (https://www.facebook.com/elizabethroderickauthor/);
2. Leave a post on my Facebook author page stating who your favorite fictional character is, and why.

For a BONUS entry (to have your name entered twice), do the following:
1. Follow this blog; and
2. Leave a comment on this post telling me which character from any book, movie, or TV show you would be,and why.

A winner will be chosen at random on January 2. EDITED TO ADD: CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL JANUARY 12. Make sure you check up on this blog and my Facebook page, because I will announce the winner there.

This is an erotica novel, so unfortunately you have to be 18 or older to enter.

Yay!

IT’S FINALLY TIME FOR MY COVER REVEAL ON LOVE OR MONEY!!

I’m so excited to reveal my cover. It’s so weird to see my name on a book…it was doubly weird to see my name above Riel’s face, ha ha. Do you like it? Looks like a sexy book, right?

Scroll to the bottom to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card!!

Love Or Money

Title: Love Or Money

Author: Elizabeth Roderick

Genre: Erotic Thriller

Release Date: January 12, 2016

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

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Synopsis

There’s a price to pay for living the fast life…

Gabriella Hernandez—known to her friends as Riel—almost wishes she could stay in prison. At least there she has steady meals, and a girlfriend who loves her. Even a cold cell is better than what’s waiting for her on the outside. The only people she looks forward to seeing in her normal life are her sister, Lizette, and her green-eyed best friend and former drug-running partner, Evan.

Drugs, danger, and a hot spark of romance…

Upon release, Riel has no choice but to go back to work for her brother-in-law, Isaias. This time, instead of running drugs, he forces her to work in his strip club where she gets a lousy ten percent of her tips. The daily dose of threats and coercion chains her to this place. And, if she makes a run for it, she’d be abandoning everyone she loves. With Isaias’ spies and henchmen everywhere, there’s nowhere to run.

A crooked cop, a setup, and hope for a real life…

Evan is able to smuggle her out of the city, but it isn’t long before Riel’s fears come true. After a bloody shootout with Isais’ men lands Evan at death’s door, it’s up to her to get them out of this deadly game, and into the quiet life they’ve always wanted. With the help of a crooked cop and the FBI, she concocts a plan. If it succeeds, Isaias goes to prison for life, and she and Evan get immunity from prosecution. If she fails, she may die—along with Evan, her sister, and countless others.

With eyes all over and the FBI involved, will Riel pull off the sting operation?
Or will they all go down in a blaze of drugs and gunfire?

Excerpt

He gave her a searching look, then brushed his lips against hers. “I know it’s not easy for you, being back.”

She raised her eyebrows. “You do?”

“I know how hard it was for you, working for Isaias. You never wanted to, he made you. You never said anything, but I could see it.” His jaw tightened. “I’d beat the fuck out of that guy if he and Maria wouldn’t have me killed for it.”

“Definitely not worth it,” Riel said, getting a jolt of fear. But it also felt good for him to say that. Did he really want to stand up for her?

A slow grin spread across his face, and he ran his fingers lightly along the curve of her waist. “I do have a way for you to get away from him, though.”

They gazed at each other. Her heart sped up. “What do you mean?”

“I recently got an offer from a guy I know named Mishmash.”

Her speeding heart stumbled, and she chewed the inside of her cheek. She had been hoping his plan wouldn’t involve more drug running, but she should have known. “I know him. The guy down in San Diego.”

“The very same. He says we can go work for him. A little more risk, maybe, because we’d have to cross the border, but it pays a lot better, and Isaias would never find us if we were down there. We could get new identities and everything so you don’t have that rap following you, and to hell with that probation crap.”

She took a deep breath and let it out. It would be nice to be with Evan. It would be really nice. But the thought of running drugs again made her feel dead inside. “I don’t know, Evan.” She looked up at him. “Do you really want to do this stuff for the rest of your life?”

He stroked her hair, gently working the tangles out with his fingers. “No. Not really. But…we could save up our money and retire somewhere where they’d never find us.” He kissed her, his hands sliding up to play with her breasts. She kissed him back, twining her legs with his, feeling a spark of hope. Did he really want to run off with her, get a house together? Or did he just need a partner in crime?

About The Author

elizabeth

ELIZABETH RODERICK grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, she recently moved to the (very, very) small town of Shandon, California: a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of the Central Coast.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a paralegal and translator. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands. She’s rocked pretty much every instrument, including some she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass and keyboards. She has two albums of her own, which you can listen to at pimentointhehole.com. She writes fiction novels for young adults and adults, as well as short stories, and keeps an active blog at pimentointhehole.com/blog.

Website | Blog |Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

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Love Or Money Full

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*Cover Reveal* Harley by Michelle Jo Quinn

Harley
Michelle Jo Quinn
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: January 19th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

All of her life, Cadence “Cade” Williams has been lied to…

With her ailing father on his deathbed, a whispered secret sends Cadence’s life into a tailspin. Determined to either confirm or debunk her father’s claim, she sets out on a mission to grow close to the only man with evidence to set things straight. To do that, Cadence earns a position in an elite security firm owned by her father’s old army buddy, Noah “Mac” Mackinley.

Mac is the only man who could hold the evidence to support her father’s claims…

But first, she must prove herself worthy of Mac’s trust and get close enough to find the truth. Her first mission is to watch over an eight-year old girl, Harley Clark.

Harley is not an ordinary girl. She’s the daughter of a rock star…

Despite her fragile appearance, Harley has tenacity and brilliance like nothing Cade has ever seen. To everyone’s surprise—including her own—Cade forms an unlikely friendship with the beautiful wallflower.

Her first assignment just became more interesting…

When Harley’s rock star father, Jax Clark, enters the scene, Cade can’t deny the instant attraction for the self-proclaimed bad boy. Tattoos, piercing eyes, and a raspy voice that sends thousands of fans into a screaming frenzy, he’s more than just a heartthrob. Worse, Jax starts to pay her more attention than she expects.

She’s faced with a choice—get lured in by the celebrity world and lose any chance of finding out the truth, or stick to the plan and avoid Jax at all costs to earn Mac’s trust.

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Author Bio:

Michelle ‘s love for writing blossomed when her father gave her a diary. However, instead of recounting her daily life, she wrote stories of fictional people. Like most of her characters, she believes in Happily Ever After. Naturally, she finds harmony in writing romance.

An unabashed, self-proclaimed foodie, Michelle loves to try new food whenever she travels. She once had triple crème Brie and duck rillette for lunch on top of Grouse Mountain. She enjoys watching foreign films and reading a good book by the fireside.

Michelle is an active member of RWA and several of its chapters. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids.

Website / Facebook / Twitter


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Get a Free Advance Reader Copy of Love or Money!

Hello, wonderful lovelies! In case you hadn’t heard me talk about it yet, my first publication, an LGBT erotic thriller entitled Love or Money, is coming out on 1/12/16. My cover reveal is in just one week, on 12/15/15, and you’re going to love it!

All my wonderful friends and family, all you out there in Internet Land, have been incredibly awesome throughout this entire process. A lot of you have been along with me for the ride since the very beginning when, two-ish years ago, I suddenly felt compelled to write all these bizarre and silly stories. You stuck by me through the painful process of actually learning how to write, and how to pitch a novel, and deal with rejection.

Now, I’m finally beginning to see a potential payoff for all those hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work. Perhaps, within a few months, I’ll actually get a few real dollars for it. But, those of you that have dealt with trying to make any sort of living in the arts know that building a career in this field is a very slow process.

Those of you who have suffered through my rants and raves and insanity regarding the process of writing realize that writing is real work. I love this work more than any job I’ve ever done – I feel it’s what I am truly meant to do – but it’s also, in some ways, the hardest job I’ve ever done. Those of you who are really close to me know how I’ve truly flirted with insanity and ruin in order to bring my books into the world.

You know, I’m sure, to what cheap and sordid end I’m bringing this post, having guessed from the title. The fact is, I wish I could give each and every one of you a free copy of Love or Money. I’d like to give copies to my friends and family just to keep as a token of my affection and appreciation, though I know this particular book isn’t in line with some of your tastes. However, the truth of the publishing industry is that I don’t get a single free copy myself. Not one. And, the truth of the artistic business is, I’ve actually had to put money into building my career, in the form of a professional writers’ conference this coming spring, and a promotional company to help me market the book above and beyond what my publisher does (which is more than a lot of them do these days. I’m not complaining. I just decided I really want to put all my efforts into making this a career, and that involves throwing a few bucks into it on the front end).

These expenses, along with the dear dog’s surgical adventures and the fact that everyone in tarnation has a dang birthday right around Christmas, has left me unable to fling free copies of my book from the rooftops. I will, in fact, only be giving out a couple free copies: one to each of those named in the dedication (and these two ladies are going to be incredibly surprised). My husband and parents won’t even get one, since they aren’t going to read it, anyway 😀 .

The e-book will be cheap. I believe it will be initially offered at $3.99. The hard copy will be a bit more expensive. However, if you would like to read the book, and would like not only a free e-copy but an ADVANCE free e-copy, all you have to do is promise to do a review, and sign up on the link below. You do need to have a blog (you needn’t have a huge following), but those are easy and free to set up, and you should have one, anyway. Here is the link:

☆ Blog Tour – January 18 – February 5

► Sign up – http://bit.ly/1N9TthJ

I will undoubtedly be giving away free/reduced price copies through promotional contests later on, so you can stay tuned for those, as well.

I am incredibly lucky to have all of you people as friends/family/supporters. I hope that my books end up entertaining you half as much as you all deserve for putting up with my bullshit. ❤

Feature Friday Review:A Stone’s Throw by Debbie De Louise

I had the pleasure of reading A Stone’s Throw by Debbie DeLouise as part of the Feature Friday series at Limitless Publishing. This is a cozy mystery in every sense of the word. Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont sets out to find answers about her husband’s family, which he’d worked so hard to keep her from when he was alive. Her search takes her to the tiny town of Cobble Cove, where she finds a lot more than she’s looking for: dark secrets that could put her life in jeopardy, as well as a new chance at love.

This was a comforting book to nestle up with. It’s a slow-burn and sweet romance, and a gentle mystery that holds you until it picks up like wildfire towards the end, with twists and turns that keep you guessing. It’s a great read for those winter evenings in front of the fire with a cup of tea. More info and purchasing links below!


A STONE’S THROW 
by Debbie De Louise




↻ SYNOPSIS ↺
Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…
After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.
Secrets stretch decades into the past…
Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.
Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…
When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John.
As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…
Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

↻ PURCHASE ↺

↻ DEBBIE DE LOUISE ↺
Debbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. Her self-published romantic suspense novel, “Cloudy Rainbow” (Booklocker 2008) received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest self-published awards. She was awarded the Lawrence C. Lobaugh Memorial Award in Journalism from Long Island University/C.W. Post where she earned a B.A. in English and a M.L.S. in Library Science. A member of the Cat Writer’s Association, she has published articles in Cats Magazine and Catnip (Tufts University Veterinary Newsletter). Her short mystery, “Stitches in Time” was published in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology, (1999). She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

We Need Diverse Books: Writing What You Don’t Know

(Pictured above: my friend Phoenix and I).

Write what you know. It’s a trite piece of advice for writers struggling to find a subject to which to put their pen, and a dire warning to those embarking on literary excursions into the unknown.

Many feel this saying is a load of crap. After all, if we can only write what we know, then we have no business even writing a memoir: our view of ourselves and our lives is so myopic, and our blind spots so extensive, that we can’t claim to truly know even what’s going on in our own lives. However, when we plunge into writing about something we don’t know, it pays to be cautious. After all, when you’re an “outsider” with respect to your subject matter, those on the inside are going to know if you get it wrong.

I’ll start with this piece of advice: Write what you want. Writing is an art, and stifling that art with a bunch of rules and warnings isn’t going to help anyone. You have something to say, and so say it, with your whole heart and to the best of your ability. But I’ll add this caveat: if you’re going to write about a type of character or situation that exists in contemporary life and yet is outside your personal experience, I advise you give it deep thought. The agonizing, soul-searching variety of deep thought. Your characters, and your readers, deserve no less.

Most of us have heard of the We Need Diverse Books movement. It is a worthy cause. Stories, both fiction and nonfiction, are an integral part of social change. Books help connect readers with people and situations that they may never encounter in their day-to-day life, and can broaden understanding and acceptance in a way that no amount of preaching or direct social activism can do. Books are a safe way to explore situations that we’d be frightened to become involved in in real life, and can help to lessen our fear and misunderstanding of those situations. For instance, a person frightened of foreign travel might be more comfortable after reading a million guidebooks. The more diversity people are exposed to in books, the more comfortable they’ll be with it in their real lives.

It is precisely for this reason that we need to be mindful of how we portray our diverse characters. I’m not saying that we should never let a diverse character be anything other than a shining beacon of perfection, so that we don’t give readers the impression that all people of that diverse group are “bad”. Quite the opposite. What I’m saying is, the character has to be realistic. We have to be comfortable in that character’s shoes. We have to know them like we know a human being, and relate to their struggle, before we write about them. Otherwise, we’ll get it wrong. We’ll portray them as an issue, instead of a character, and we’ll miss an opportunity to let readers identify with them on a human level.

I love it when books have diverse characters, but when I hear editors or agents say, “If there’s no diversity in your books, don’t worry: it can be added,” I cringe. It is possible to deliberately add diversity in this way and still have a great book. But, if you’re adding diversity purely for diversity’s sake, be very cautious. After all, if you’re inserting a diverse character just to make the novel more marketable, then you are exploiting the group to which that diverse character belongs. If you’re changing the color of a character’s skin, giving her a limp, or modifying his religious practice, take a long moment to get to know that character again, because you have changed who they are. Make sure you don’t overlook some of the issues that the character might face in his or her daily life. Otherwise, you run the risk of your character being a blue-eyed guy with shoe polish on his face asking John Wayne to smoke-um peace pipe.

You’ll have readers that identify with your diverse characters, and if you tell their story incorrectly, you’re selling those readers short and hurting them on a personal level.

This concept also applies to characters which are members of groups which may not traditionally be viewed as “diverse”. If your character is dealing with issues of any kind that you haven’t dealt with personally, make sure you put thought into it.

For instance, I’m a recovering heroin addict, an ex-con, and a victim of physical and sexual abuse. I have thrown books across the room and cursed authors’ very souls for, in my view, misrepresenting these issues. I’m really tired of reading about poor, battered women who suffer their completely evil, idiot husbands stolidly until the day they rise up with unblemished inner strength to assert themselves. I know it may sound counterintuitive to some of you, but I feel belittled by this narrative. Abuse is ugly; it changes you. It weakens you. And it can make you stoop to the level of the abuser, because you know no different, and because you’re so scarred and hurt that you can’t function in a healthy manner. I do recognize that not all survivors of abuse see it this way, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling that my story is being exploited and told incorrectly for profit, when I read a book that gets it “wrong”.

Additionally, I’m tired of seeing drug addicts portrayed as objects of pity or contempt; complete hot-mess wastrels; soulless beings with no hope, intelligence, or inner life. I especially hate this narrative when said addict ends up seeing the light, and becomes a pink-cheeked, happy and productive member of society within the course of 350 pages. I also hate reading about heroin addicts with dilated pupils (opiates contract the pupils), or about a character “melting” black tar heroin in a spoon (it doesn’t melt; you have to dissolve it in water). The details are easy to research, and the rest, well, all I can say is that drug addicts are people, too. Drugs can make people into a hot mess, it’s true; but that hot mess can be interesting to examine, and you’ll make your story better if your character is well-rounded.

So, do your research if you’re writing about characters from different walks of life as you. And, the best research is not academic research, but experience*.

My own books are pretty darned diverse. I have a lot of Mexican-American characters. I speak Spanish and have lived most of my life in areas with a huge Mexican-American population, so I’m comfortable writing from this perspective. I also have Mexican-American beta readers. If, someday, a reader gets angry at me for getting a Latino character “wrong”, well, I’ll still listen to their complaints, and it will certainly upset me, but I’ll have the consolation of being able to grumble and laugh about it with my Hispanic friends, and I’ll probably be able to toss it off in the end as “you can’t win them all”. That’s because I’m comfortable with my characters, and they seem like realistic people to me. When I read books where the Hispanic characters seem to have stepped off the label of a can of refried beans, it makes me want to hulk-smash.

I also often write about characters with mental illness. I have personal experience with mental illness, including psychosis. However, when I was writing a book with a schizophrenic main character, I reached a point where I felt like I was getting it wrong. So, I went down to the local park and made friends with a young schizophrenic man I’d seen hanging around.

My friendship with Phoenix was never about writing a novel. I don’t hang out with him because of his mental illness, but because I enjoy his company. He’s an amazing, intelligent, and hilariously funny person. I wouldn’t have endured all the things we’ve been through otherwise, like being kicked out of bars, restaurants, casinos and libraries because people were uncomfortable with his behavior; the hurtful and paranoid rants on his bad days; having to intervene with the cops and the courts when he was arrested for no crime other than being schizophrenic. I’ve spent horrible, anguished days and nights, crying and worrying, when he was institutionalized, or in the hospital after someone misinterpreted something he said and beat him into a coma. Certain experiences with him have triggered my own episodes of psychosis, as well, which were of course frightening and draining. And, frankly, this friendship almost destroyed my marriage.

Just like I don’t hang out with Phoenix because he’s mentally ill, I didn’t write my book about the schizophrenic character because he is schizophrenic. I wrote it because he’s an interesting character, with a really good story to tell. He’s a human being (well, not really, but you know what I mean).

Readers will identify with characters, and want to spend time with them, if they’re interesting people, and not just a list of symptoms and diagnoses or character traits you gleaned from internet research.

Like with the Rosarita Beans characters, the depth of knowledge I now have about schizophrenia makes me want to beat the author over the head with their book when they portray a psychotic character as a brainless, evil serial killer, or a smelly bum with a tinfoil hat. They should try harder.

I don’t expect or recommend that writers to display my level of dedication to developing their characters. And for all my experience, I cannot be said to be writing what I “know” with regard to my Hispanic, schizophrenic, and some of my other diverse characters anyway, because I’m not a member of their “group” myself. I’m sure I’m still lacking insight and getting it “wrong” in some ways. But I am comfortable with and proud of my books. I think they can add to people’s understanding, rather than detracting from it by creating false impressions.

This is what we should strive to do when we write, whether it’s from a diverse perspective or not, and whether our tale is a lighthearted romantic comedy or a dark “issues” novel.

Always treat your characters (and your readers) with the respect they deserve, and you will be able to bear any criticism with dignity.

*For the love of God, man, don’t apply this concept to writing about drug addicts and ex-cons. I’d rather your characters be trite and wooden than for you to go get thrown in the slammer for a PCP binge you embarked on for novel research.