Blog Tour: Timeless hope

A collection of Romantic and Inspirational short stories that will reach into your soul and deeply into your heart. Walk with the characters and see what they have to say.

Little Red Shoes…a young widowed mother who has an angel for a six year old daughter. Her father, who was killed in Iraq talks to her in her dreams and stays connected with her. A day comes when she sees an opportunity to do something good and she doesn’t pass it up.

A Fireside Request…a love story about an older man and woman who live in a retirement community. Both are alone and both are in love, but neither has had the courage to tell the other. Read what happens as love arrives again when you think you may be too old for it.

The Miracle…a touching story of hope and faith during a mans struggle with what life has thrown at him. He’s given an opportunity when he doesn’t even realize it. Does he make the right choice and what happens when he chooses. Take a moment and see what unfolds when a Higher Power steps in.

A Petal from a Rose…Can a dream really become a reality? When Steven dreams every single night of the woman he has always hoped for he thinks he is losing his mind. When she begins to leave him something on his pillow he’s almost convinced until something unimaginable happens.

Butterfly…a young woman struggles with pain and loss and lives within personal boundaries that hold her down. Can she overcome the pain, transform and find her true meaning in life?

Find Timeless Hope HERE.

Advertisements

Pitch Wars #PimpMyBio: “Coming Out” About My #OwnVoices Book

I’m late to the Pitch Wars #Pimpmybio party, which is odd, because I usually have a bad habit of showing up way too early at most parties.

I just this morning resolved to enter the contest. This will be my third time entering Pitch Wars, and I’ve entered with a different manuscript each time. The first time, I entered the very first novel I’d ever completed, the first in a series of seven YA urban fantasy novels. I’ve since put that series on the back burner; it needs serious editing with my now-more-trained eye before I pitch it again.

The novel I entered last year, The Other Place, is an upper YA/NA contemporary magical realism novel. It’s about a young man with schizophrenia trying to make it as an artist, find love, and find his place in the world. This book was released by Limitless Publishing on 7/5/16.

Yes, I know. I’m a published author, and so I feel a little shy entering Pitch Wars. I know (from experience, unfortunately) that some other contestants are likely giving me the stink-eye, wishing I’d step aside to give the less fortunate a chance. But I don’t have an agent, and really want one; my books are getting great reviews, but I’m a marketing doofus and I think I could get wider exposure if I had an agent on my side, holding my hand and cheering me on.

This competition brings in some of the best aspiring authors in the English-speaking world, and I know I don’t have any more talent or chance of being selected than a lot of the unpublished entrants. The fact I’m published and others aren’t, isn’t a measure purely of talent, but also of hard work and persistence. In fact, no matter how awesome I think my manuscript is, I don’t have a ton of hope it will be chosen. That isn’t the real reason I’m entering this contest. I’m entering because, in past years, I’ve made so many great friends in the Pitch Wars feed, and I’d love to make some more. I’m also entering because I’ve had so much going on in my life lately, both good and bad, so I’ve not been doing much querying. Pitch Wars will make me focus on trying to find this book a home.

The book I’m entering this year is entitled True Story. It’s a diverse YA romance. The main character is a seventeen-year-old Native American foster girl with the unusual name of Mike Charley. She isn’t trans; she was named after her grandfather by her bipolar mother, who thought Mike was his reincarnation.
This is an #ownvoices book. I’m not Native (though I have family in the same tribe Mike’s mother was from), but Mike has bipolar disorder with episodes of psychosis, like her mother did…and like I do.
I’ve been hesitant about pitching True Story as an #ownvoices book, though I know it might make some people more curious about it. I only recently “came out” about my neurodiversity, and it has definitely been a mixed bag. I’m lucky that my diversity isn’t visible; most days, I seem like a perfectly normal, if maybe somewhat eccentric, person, so not a lot of people knew about my neurodiversity. Since I opened up about it, I’ve gotten such a wonderful outpouring of support, but I’ve also suffered a lot of negative and hurtful comments.
Bipolar is a condition that comes with many misconceptions. People either think you’re a howling nutjob, or that you’re being attention-seeking: “I get mood swings, too, and you don’t see me crying about it.” I’m not a howling nutjob on most days, nor am I particularly attention-seeking. These stereotypes are hurtful.
When I wrote True Story, it wasn’t my intention to “educate” the world about bipolar disorder. I was just telling a cool story about a wonderful girl. But now that the book is written and edited, and steaming up the windows in its boisterous urge to get on the road, I really do want to find a wide audience for it, to show one insider’s perspective on living with bipolar.
I also think it’s important to have YA novels with bipolar and otherwise neurodiverse main characters. After my first episode of psychosis when I was 15, I was terrified. I thought my brain would completely desert me; that I might lose control of myself and hurt people. That’s what most people think “psychos” are, after all: homicidal maniacs. Most books reflect these misconceptions, and portray psychotic characters as killers or otherwise evil antagonists. At best, characters with psychosis are often complete wastes of space, objects of nothing more than pity and contempt, and are there only to be somehow “saved” by a neurotypical character.
Because I’d swallowed all those stereotypes, it was decades before I had the courage to admit even to a doctor that I’d suffered psychotic episodes. Instead, I got pretty good at managing them myself. I tried to avoid the situations that might trigger them, and I self-medicated. A lot. When I was in my late teens, I discovered that heroin made my brain chill out, and eased my crushing episodes of (sometimes suicidal) depression. It took me years and a trip to prison to kick that habit, but I eventually found healthier ways to deal with my symptoms.
But those ways don’t always work, especially when you’re like me and don’t even try to control your episodes of mania.
I love being manic. My last manic episode started in the summer of 2013. That’s when I first started writing in earnest: I finished seven novels in a year, and another five in the year after that. However, the episode coincided with a huge shift in my marriage dynamics and caused it even more strain. My husband became very insulting about my inability to “grow up and act right”. His behavior felt very abusive to me, which triggered both my bipolar disorder and my PTSD and made my behavior even more erratic. I ended up having a psychotic break last summer (my first one in more than a decade), and a few close brushes with suicide, before the relationship finally ended for good.
My dream with regard to True Story, and my other books (and other authors’ books) with neurodiverse characters, is that people will read them and be less afraid to talk about their own experiences with neurodiversity. I want people with mental illness to know that they aren’t “less” than neurotypical people; they’re not dangerous or creepy, or in any other way unfit to take their rightful place in society. Then maybe they won’t have to go through some of the stuff I’ve gone through.
So I’m standing up (with somewhat trembly knees) and proudly declaring that True Story is an #ownvoices book. I know my admission that I have a serious mental condition might make some agents leery of working with me, but I console myself that they might not be a good match for my work anyway. When I finally do get an agent, that person will see my value, and will believe in me and my writing. They won’t buy into the negative stereotypes about bipolar disorder or PTSD. They’ll know people like me can be productive, professional, intelligent, and easy to work with.
So, that’s why I’m entering Pitch Wars: because I deserve to; because I believe in my books; and because I believe in myself and others like me.
Thank you for reading this. I’d love to hear your comments and get links to your blogs, as well. Like I said, making new friends is one of my main goals in entering Pitch Wars.
Good luck to everyone!

Signing at Inklings Bookstore on September 10!

I’m happy to announce that I’m going to have a signing at Inklings Bookstore in Yakima, Washington on the afternoon of Saturday, September 10th. I also landed an interview on KIMA TV news. I’ll have more info soon, and hopefully more dates! I hope to see you all there.

Six Writing Tips that Work Across Styles and Genres

Simple(ish) tricks to make any style of writing better

I’ve done a lot of critiquing, beta reading, and professional editing. I work with people who write in all different styles and genres—even ones vastly different from any I usually write—and I’ve learned to appreciate them all on their own merits.

I see a lot of writing advice out there, and a great deal of it frustrates me, because it amounts to a style critique rather than sound writing advice, especially if applied indiscriminately. This sort of writing advice tries to regiment style and can impede creativity.

There are some pieces of advice, however, that I’ve found work across all styles and genres. These are some of the tips and tricks I use when writing and editing my own work as well as pretty much every other piece I look at. It’s the stuff that always seems to make writing better (although there are exceptions…I broke some of these same rules when writing in Justin’s schizophrenic character voice in The Other Place and its sequel. There are always times to break every rule, as long as you’re doing it on purpose.)

So, with that small caveat, here are six things I’ve found (almost) always improve all types of writing:

  1. Avoid dialogue tags whenever possible.

This is a common piece of writing advice that is sound, on most occasions. If you only have two people in the conversation, you don’t need a dialogue tag with every line of the conversation, because readers understand who’s talking as long as they’re oriented now and again.

You can also use action tags in the place of dialogue tags. Action tags usually precede the dialogue (though they can come after), and describe something a character is doing while they speak. Action tags are super great because they can perform quadruple duty: let us know who is speaking, develop character, create a mood or vibe, and put a vivid image in the reader’s mind. For instance:

“I just don’t know,” Marla said.

As opposed to:

Marla chiseled the dried blood from beneath her fingernails with her hunting knife. “I just don’t know.”

Of course, if you’ve already let us know that she’s cleaning her nails, choose another image. Also be careful of saying things like, “She smiled” or “She cocked an eyebrow”; I myself am guilty of overusing these action tags, and often they don’t add anything, and/or are already implied by the dialogue. In those cases, sometimes the normal dialogue tag is better.

  1. Adjectives and adverbs are okay; redundancy isn’t.

If the adjective or adverb is already implied by the scene, dialogue, or action, you don’t need to use it. For instance:

The bright Southern California sun shone intensely on their faces.

Neither “bright” nor “intensely” are really needed here, and don’t add much as to style, either (you probably don’t even need “on their faces” in most cases, if you want to get technical.) Or:

“We need to get out of here!” she yelled urgently.

You really just need the dialogue there, without the “yelled” or the “urgently”.

However:

He leaned on the dented bumper of his car, eyeing her lustily.

Both “dented” and “lustily” add something here, if we don’t already know those things from context.

  1. Description is fine, but diagraming is generally not.

I love it when the author creates a bizarre, beautiful, or bleak image that sticks with me. However, I get really confused and any image in my head is destroyed whenever I read something like this:

The house was three stories tall, with three rows of five windows off to the right of the main entrance, and three rows of eight windows to the left of the entrance. The front door was tall and stately, a double door, with carved frescoes of cherubs and nymphs all along the edges.  Inside, a hallway led off in front to the state rooms. Another to the right led to the ballroom, which had windows on one side and framed mirrors on half of the other walls, with portraits on the other half.  A large, curved staircase…

You get what I’m going for. This happens even in traditionally-published novels more than I like to say.

The point of writing is to give readers an image; a feeling; an idea of what’s going on. Their imaginations will fill in the rest. In fact, you need to let readers’ imaginations do the rest, because that’s part of the fun of reading. They don’t need to see exactly what you’re seeing, they just need enough to get their own picture. In the passage above, the idea the writer is trying to convey is of a grand, old-style mansion. You can give us this impression with little images dropped here and there throughout the dialogue and action, preferably when the characters interact with their surroundings. We don’t need a layout of the house, especially all at once.

  1. Inner dialogue and exposition are fine, but be careful of telling the reader stuff they already know, or don’t need to know.

He pressed his lips to hers. She gave a little gasp, and her body melted into his. I want him so badly, she thought. I’ve never felt like this before about anyone.

Now, you can get away with a lot of inner dialogue and exposition, especially in romance, but in the above passage, we don’t need that inner thought at all. Even if we do perhaps, in some cases, need to see that thought once, we don’t need it every time he kisses her. We actually feel the moment and the romantic tension more if the inner dialogue is mostly implied by the characters and the situation, and left to the imagination.

Also, giving backstory or detail that doesn’t even play into the story is a double no-no. Backstories on minor characters that only appear once in the book; memories of events that aren’t relevant; long descriptions of job duties when the whole of the novel takes place while the character is on vacation—these sorts of things are often dead weight that slow pacing and bore readers.

  1. You don’t need to say something using the fewest words possible, but avoid repeating yourself, or telling something you’ve already shown.

Some people can go on and on and on without losing the reader, because their style is engaging for one reason or another. Not all of us are exclusively into the Spartan style of writing. But, even if you’re prone to wordiness, you don’t need to say things more than once. For instance:

She drove quickly down the road. She was in a hurry. She was late for a meeting, and would be in trouble with her boss.

Those three sentences basically convey the same idea a bunch of times.  You could say the same thing by showing her honking her horn and swearing at traffic, and letting us know by context that she’s on her way to a meeting; or if nothing else by saying something like She drove like a maniac to get to the meeting.

Or:

She hated chocolate pie. She poked at the chocolate pie with her fork, wrinkling her nose. “I hate chocolate pie.”

You really just need the action there. You could also have the dialogue if character-appropriate, but the first sentence should never be there. It just tells before it shows, and thus reduces the impact of showing.

  1. Avoid sensory words such as “saw” “heard” “smelled” or “felt” as much as possible.

This is the hardest one. The trick here is to put the reader in the story; you do this by  describing what’s going on instead of saying so-and-so saw or heard it going on. For instance:

Jeremy smelled jasmine.

As opposed to:

The scent of jasmine wafted over him.

The second makes you feel more like you’re there, right? Sometimes you need the sensory tag for emphasis; for instance, if your main character is in the other room and can’t see the door opening, you can’t say the door opened. You have to say they heard the door opening…or you could say The door creaked as it opened, or something, if appropriate. Also, I use the saw tag when I want to make it clear someone is noticing something that they were not meant to notice. Abraham saw Fred tuck his shirt over the butt of his pistol. That makes it clearer that it didn’t just happen, it happened surreptitiously.

The “feel” tag is harder to remove. It’s best if you can write the scene so it’s obvious what someone would be feeling. If you’ve done your character development, scene setting, and dialogue right, this is often possible. But, at times, you really do have to say things like George felt like she’d hung him by his nuts from the flagpole. There’s just no other way to get the point across and keep the reader along for the ride.

What writing tips and tricks do you use? I’d love to hear them. I’d also love to argue with you if you don’t agree with some of mine 🙂

Elizabeth Roderick is the author of two published novels, with more upcoming. She is a professional freelance editor.

Writing Through Adversity: The Story of the Other Place Series

About a year and a half ago, I was living in my little ranch house in the tiny (like no-stoplights sort of tiny) town of Shandon, California.

I’d moved there with my husband and child for my husband’s tenure-track job as a biochemistry professor. He and I had been together for eight years, very happily, but once we moved to California our marriage started to fall apart.

I didn’t work outside the home, and so had time for writing when we moved. A year and a half ago when this story starts, I had just finished a series of seven YA fantasy books. Book one of that series was the first novel I’d ever completed. I’d been completely engrossed in the story, and I’d written all seven books in slightly less than a year. It had been part of the way I’d dealt with the myriad of stresses of moving to California.

That writing took up a lot of my time. I cooked and cleaned, sure, but everything else was  writing. I only left the house to go to critique groups, and about 99% of the conversations I had with anybody, including my husband and kid, revolved around writing and the querying process.

My husband was really frustrated with me. He wanted me to quit writing and get a job—not because we needed the money (we didn’t) but because he told me I was miserable.

I wasn’t miserable at all. I was the happiest I’d ever been, because I’d finally found what I was put on this earth to do, if you believe in that sort of thing. Writing fit completely with my personality. It helped me organize my sometimes racing and random thoughts, and I could do it in the middle of the night (I have a habit of waking up at 2 a.m.) I didn’t have to try to act professional or worry about the wrath of my boss. And it was the most fun I’d ever had. Sure, it was shitty sometimes, but isn’t anything?

My husband is a differently-minded person, though. He doesn’t understand feelings the way most people do, so he tends to construct an emotional model for people. If your description of your own feelings doesn’t fit in with the model, he dismisses it as an outlier.

I could find no way of communicating with him about our relationship problems, and we ended up in a lot of brutal fights. He called me immature, selfish, and lazy; told me he’d lost all respect for me, and he was done with me.

We were like two mentally-odd ships passing in the night, firing randomly at each other in the darkness.

Anyway, when I finished my YA series, I was plunged back into the real world without my characters for companionship. A new character had arrived shortly before I’d finished the series, but she wasn’t very good company. Her name was Liria, and she was a somewhat languid and depressed junkie. I’d quit heroin almost twenty years ago and I didn’t feel much inclination to be pulled back into that world, so I kept telling her to slouch back off from whence she came.

She wouldn’t leave, though, in that way characters do. I started writing her book.

It was a bit horrifying. I hadn’t worked through a lot of the issues from that period in my life, and Liria brought them back pretty vividly. I’d been diagnosed with PTSD—I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but I guess a symptom can be that you run away and/or have an overblown emotional reaction when confronted with reminders of your trauma. That was me in spades. Writing the book made me even freakier, and my husband didn’t have the resources to deal with that. When I tried to talk to him about the stuff from my past that was bugging me, he’d tell me to get over myself. He said, “Having a baby is worse than getting raped, but you’re not complaining about that.”

When my husband and I fought, I started closing down completely. I’d turn into a screeching banshee when anything even resembling a slight left my husband’s lips. Sometimes I’d get in my car and end up hours away without a very good notion of why I was there.

Add that to the fact that, when I brought chapters of the book to critique group, some people said, “There’s nothing likable about this character. Why would anyone want to read about someone like this?” To them, Liria was nothing but an object of contempt, fear, and pity. They’d never thought of someone like her as a real human being, with a rich and complex inner life. Liria had a lot of me in her, and so those critiques felt like rejections of me as a person. I was already getting enough rejection from my husband and agents. I didn’t need more.

I tried to quit writing, but I couldn’t. It was an addiction as much as the heroin had been, and I got anxious and morose if I didn’t do it.

I was sitting in the local park one day during this time—I’d taken a temp job running the food bank’s summer lunch program—when this guy walked up to me.

“I like your shoes,” he said. “They’re red, white and blue, like Captain America, or like my house, which is red, white and blue, also. It’s the Captain America house.”

We talked about his workout routine and his muffin pancake recipe. He was the coolest guy in the world. I couldn’t get him out of my head after that conversation, and he ended up in Liria’s book. I named him Justin.

Unlike Liria, my critique partners LOVED Justin. So did I, but I was pretty sure he would be one of the darlings I’d have to kill. I didn’t see how he played into the story.

Except he did end up playing into the story. Justin wove himself in and out of Liria’s dreams the way the kid from the park wove through mine. I created a well-rounded character based on that half-hour conversation about my shoes and the coat rack exercise.

When I finished Liria’s book, Justin’s character kept talking to me, so I started another book.

Justin’s book was even more brutal than Liria’s. The kid from the park had obviously been schizophrenic, and so was Justin. I was terrified of schizophrenia. I’d spent a lot of my youth worried I had it. I didn’t talk to people about it much, but I’d had some pretty severe episodes of psychosis in my life, and putting myself in that mindset was even harder than being in Liria’s shoes.

As I wrote the book, though, I realized I wasn’t scared anymore. Justin was a wonderful person. His episodes of psychosis didn’t mean he was bad—that was just the way his mind worked.

Justin’s book had a sequel, and I was almost done writing it when I decided I had to talk to the kid in the park again. I knew he wasn’t Justin, but I felt like getting to know him better would help me get Justin’s character right.

I hadn’t talked to him in more than five months, and wasn’t sure where he lived—the “Captain America” house not being what you’d call a precise address—so I went down the park for lack of other options.

He walked in just as I did. “Hey, it’s you,” he said. “I was looking for you.”

The kid in the park’s name is Phoenix. He isn’t much like Justin, but he still helped me to round out Justin’s character in a very big way.

Phoenix became my new obsession, my new best friend, and my new way of avoiding the increasingly horrible fights with my husband. When things progressed to my husband telling me to get the fuck out of the house, Phoenix was the shoulder I cried on. That summer, when my kid was visiting her dad, Phoenix lived with me in campgrounds and my car for quite a while as I looked for jobs and tried to put my life together. When my husband finally asked me to come back home, though, I went. All I wanted to do was write, and the only way I could see to do that was to try to repair my marriage; being a single mom working two jobs wasn’t a recipe for success as an author. Besides, I still thought my husband would eventually realize he still loved me. I thought he’d change. I’d been in abusive relationships before and knew I was being naïve, but things always look different when you’re in the midst of them.

Meanwhile, I eventually got tired of trying to break into the publishing world with one of my bizarre novels populated with unlikeable characters. I wrote a romance with the idea of pitching it to small publishers so that I could establish myself, and maybe have an easier time getting my other stuff published. That romance was Love or Money—it was still bizarre and populated with unlikable characters, but it got published pretty easily. Soon after, I signed a contract on Liria and Justin’s series—the Other Place series.

A few months after that, my husband gave me divorce papers.

I tried to stay in the house so my daughter could finish the school year. It was a complete emotional shit-show. It wasn’t long before—you all saw this coming—Phoenix and I were in a relationship.phoenix n me

I ended up moving out before the end of the school year, because it was just too hard. I renovated and built onto a cabin on my parents’ farm, and I’m living here rent-free, trying to get my writing and editing career off the ground.

I had to leave Phoenix behind, but I think about him every day. I’m headed down to visit him today, too.

Phoenix and I have a sort of shared psychosis. It’s not an easy relationship, but the strength of the connection is more epic and magical than anything I’ve ever known. It’s the connection of two people living in a world very different from the world of those around them. After all, the definition of psychosis is a belief in things that aren’t real, and that aren’t consistent with their society and culture. Everyone is psychotic, but Phoenix and I are just psychotic in a slightly different way.

Yes, perhaps I destroyed my life by writing the Other Place series, but I think it might have been a good trade-off. Even if the series completely flops,my divorce was probably for the best. Writing this series taught me who I am, and that it’s okay to be that person. It’s not much use for me to try to change to make someone happy.

I hope the series doesn’t flop, though. I hope all of you read it and learn to love the unlikable characters in my books. I hope you’ll also take a second look at the unlikeable characters in your real life.

My books on Amazon.

My website.

 

General Update

Hello, wonderful people. I know it’s been a very long while since I’ve written a post of substance. A lot has been going on in my libeekeepingfe, so I haven’t had a lot of time.

Those who follow me on social media know that I was served divorce papers the day after Valentine’s Day. I’ve since moved back to the family farm, where I’ve been gutting and renovating an 80-year-old one-room cabin to live in, working on growing my editing business, and—apparently—taking up beekeeping.

I have a new boyfriend, too: Phoenix, my best friend, who has inspired so many of my novels and taken me on so many dark and hilarious adventures over the past year. It’s a long-distance relationship, and an odd one, and I don’t know where it will go. He is fifteen years younger than I am. He has schizophrenia. His lifestyle and rituals are very different from my own. I love him to cabina (probably literally) insane degree, though. He has taught me more about myself and the world in the past year than I learned in the thirty-seven years before I met him. He is an important part of my life and always will be, no matter what happens.

A lot of you also know that I ended up in a mental health crisis center a few weeks ago, after it all got a little too heavy. I got help, and will get to start psychiatric treatment again this coming week. I’m going to finally be honest with the psychiatrist and hopefully get a valid diagnosis and some treatment that works.

Throughout all this, I’ve been writing, editing, marketing. I went to the RT Booklovers conference in Vegas. I’m finishing up the final edits on my May 31st release The Hustle, which is Book 1 of my Other Place series. I’ve also worked with some truly aphoenix n memazing editing clients, continued work on a YA alternate-earth fantasy novel, finished some of the parts of my Wattpad series The Story of Tinkerbell (which will be featured when it’s done), and I started pitching my neurodiverse YA romance True Story to agents.

All this stuff is hard to process and integrate, as you might imagine. On the one hand, there’s the supposedly professional Liz, who is writing/publishing/editing/marketing, trying to grow her business and her brand. Then there’s the Liz who is trying to keep her life from disintegrating, who is trying to keep herself alive, off the streets, and out of the mental institution, all while taking care of her wonderful daughter.

At the RT conference, I got the opportunity to talk to a lot of the panels on writing and publishing diverse novels. In the midst of all those thousands of writers and readers, I felt most at home amongst those authors. It was so comforting to hear them talk about the barriers they’ve faced in marketing and publishing, because they’re some of the same ones I’m encountering: people want “diversity” in their novels, but they don’t necessarily want books that explore what it’s really like to live as a diverse person in this world. The term for this is, I believe, “whitewashing”. I think this term is applicable to my situation, even though I’m not a POC, I’m a neurodiverse writer who writes about neurodiverse characters.

I also learned a lot about “branding” at the RT conference—about presenting yourself and your novels in a way that’s both unique and compelling, so that readers learn to associate you with a certain image and type of writing and know what to expect when they buy your books. I learned that you’re supposed to simultaneously present an marketable image while being professional and genuine.

It’s hard for me to be both professional and genuine, though. I can’t present an image to the public that’s widely compelling while still being myself. The problems I encounter with branding myself and getting the public to embrace and accept me are the same problems I’ve struggled with in getting people to want to read about my characters: most people like the concept of a story about a person with psychosis or other neurodiverse behaviors, but when it comes down to seeing what it’s like to actually live with neurodiversity, it’s a little much for them. I’m told, about my books, that the writing is good but people can’t relate to the characters. I’m told my plots are odd. I’m told that I, as a person, am oversharing and trying to be a special snowflake. That “we’re all crazy, but we don’t have to talk about it all the time.” In short, I’m told that I’m annoying, and that my characters are, too.

I am being the only person that I know how to be, though. It would be more convenient to be someone else sometimes. I’d still be happily married if I knew how to be someone else, and I’d probably have a much easier and more lucrative job. But I love writing. It’s what I was meant to do. And I love my characters and my plots. I wouldn’t want to write books that were more “typical”.

There are some people who love me despite or because of all this, and there are people who love my books. The Other Place Series will be coming out soon, as I mentioned—The Hustle on 5/31, The Other Place on 7/5, and the third and final installment shortly after that (it’s currently with betas). This series is about a recovering heroin addict and a young schizophrenic man, and I’m grateful to Limitless for taking a chance on it. Additionally, my YA romance, which stars a young woman with bipolar psychosis, got five requests on the lovely Beth Phelan’s #DVPit for diverse novels, and one of those requests so far has turned into a full. I’m hopeful that book will find a home soon.

So, for what it’s worth, I’m growing my brand: I’m the crazy lady who writes books about crazy people. I’m being genuine. I’m hopeful that sooner or later the world will accept me for who I am. For now, I’m still alive, and I’m still writing. Thank you for reading.

Review Tour Signup for The Hustle

Hello, lovely people! The first installment of The Other Place Series, entitled The Hustle releases on 5/31/16, and I’m looking for folks that want to participate in my review tour. It’s a new adult contemporary novel, with lesbian romance, crime thriller, and magical realism elements. The tour signup is HERE. Thank you for your support!

Interview With Rebecca Barber

Hello, all! Rebecca Barber is embarking on a blog tour, promoting her new romantic suspense novel, Nobody Knows. I had the pleasure of interviewing her!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

My life is pretty mundane and boring but hectic at the same time (if that is at all possible?) I am an accountant by day and work really long hours and then come home to my extremely forgiving husband Rob and our fur baby Levi.

I’m one of 4 kids to my teacher parents and we moved around a bit when we were kids so I’ve been lucky enough to experience so many different things over the years – country life, city living and even living on the beach!

These days, after work I write, read and spend six months of the year in a heated debate with my husband over which of our beloved Australian Rules Football team is better.

Q: How did Nobody Knows came about? How did you get the idea to write it?

Nobody Knows is one of those books which sort of just appeared from nowhere and wrote itself. Most of the time I felt like a passenger really. I had a couple of friends going through some hard times (although nothing like what is in the book) and their stories inspired me to write a character we could all hate. At the time, everyone seemed to think characters like Christian Grey – with his charisma, wealth, sex appeal – could do no wrong, I wanted to write someone who had all of this, but wasn’t Prince Charming in the end.

Q: Did you do any research for this novel?

Q: How long did it take you to write Nobody Knows? Could you tell us a bit about your writing process—whether you have a writing schedule and how you manage to get it done?

Nobody Knows too about 4 months to write in total to get the first draft done. After that I needed to step back and walk away. I think I sat on it and did absolutely nothing with it for about another six months while I recovered from what I’d written really. Even today, re-reading some of the words I wrote scares me about how dark it is.

Unfortunately I don’t have a writing schedule, although I wish I did, I just try and fit it in when I can around other things like life, but since writing is basically my stress relief, when I need to, I find the time 🙂

Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I usually have a basic plot in my head, but when the characters start getting involved they take on a life of their own and I just hang on for the ride.

Q: What is your editing process?

The only way I can edit is to print it off and draw all over it. If I can’t I can’t see it. So I print a copy of and write in all the changes before re-typing them back in. After that it goes to a few trusted people for their feedback and opinions. Then more changes. Then the publishers.

Q: You have four books out now, correct? Tell us about your publishing journey.

My publishing journey has been a whirlwind. Nobody Knows is the third published book and the fourth is set with a June release date – six months ago I didn’t have a publishing contract! One wet Saturday afternoon I’d just finished reading a brilliant book by another author and I looked who her publisher was, she wrote similar stuff to me, I Googled her publisher, they were accepting submissions so before I had a chance to chicken out or change my mind, I hit submit. Now here I am.

I’ve learnt a lot and met a stack of wonderful helpful people along the way, and I’m still learning every day.

Q: Are there any marketing tips or wisdom you can give us?

Ask for help – there are people and groups out there who want to help you. In the beginning I was embarrassed to ask for help and I made quite a few mistakes and my book sales suffered as result. But the sooner you can understand and accept that the people in this community genuinely want to help you and want to see you succeed, the better you will be. Not only that, you will make some more amazing friends along the way, no matter where you live – I mean I’m in Australia and some of the best people I talk to on a regular basis are in the UK and US.

Q: What else are you working on? Should we expect any more of your books in the near future?

Book 3 in the “Swimming Upstream” series, “On Dry Land” will be released on June 14 2016 which is the final to that series and then I have just signed another contract for another series of 3 books.

The first of which “Coming Home” will probably be published late 2016 and focuses on a small country town an the relationships which inevitably grow when you’ve known someone all your life.

Thank you, Rebecca! Nobody Knows is available on Amazon!

LOVE OR MONEY IS A FREE DOWNLOAD TODAY ONLY!

I wouldn’t typically spend much time advertising my book for free, but I’d love to get word about my book, and myself as an author, out there – especially since I have more books coming out soon (The Hustle on 5/31/16 and The Other Place on 7/5/16). So, please download the book for free – today only.

Love or Money is a crime thriller romance – sort of like an Elmore Leonard novel with a dash of bisexual (F/F and F/M) erotica. The author (*bows awkwardly*) has an insider’s view of prison and gang culture so, while it’s definitely not a true story, it has a heavy dash of realism that might strike you at gut level.

What do you have to lose? Download it – if you love it, then you’ll probably love The Hustle, so keep that in mind at the end of May when it comes out. Also, you can leave me a review!

Thanks!

Love or Money Goodreads Giveaway

Hello, beauties! I wanted to plug my Goodreads Giveaway for Love or Money. It’s happening right now, and you can enter by clicking the button below. I’m giving away two signed copies of the book, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should enter why not!

If you HAVE read it, you should go leave me a review on Amazon and Goodreads. The review can say the book stinks like dog butt, I don’t care – I guess I need to know these things. But if you’re still following my blog, I’m guessing you don’t think I or my writing stink too badly.

Reviews REALLY help. They’re a huge part of what builds an author’s career, and I know you want me to be able to make a living at this. I mean, look at my beautiful daughter, who needs things like food, electricity for her iPIMG_0178od, ironic t-shirts and piano lessons. Isn’t she cute?

Thank you!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Love or Money by Elizabeth Roderick

Love or Money

by Elizabeth Roderick

Giveaway ends March 22, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway