Anniversary Giveaway: The Winners!

Can you believe that it’s been a full year since my first novel, ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, was published? I still can’t believe it- even though I’ve already even finished the second and have everything set for a summer publication.

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1114 people entered my anniversary Goodreads giveaway- that’s about twice as many people who entered my first giveaway more than a year ago! If you had told the me then that more than a thousand people would be requesting something I wrote, I would have laughed you off.

I’d like to take this moment to thank all of my supporters and fans for one heck of a year. It’s been exciting, jumping headfirst into this whole authoring thing- but  I wouldn’t have the strength or the will to keep pushing myself to become a better author, producing better stories for you, if I didn’t have such a wonderful network of encouragement and kindness.

Congratulations to the five winners of the giveaway:

JC Tenney

Candace Banning

Sharon Powell

Caryn Landreth

and

Paige Bryant!

 

Your signed copies of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls will be shipping out to you this week! For those of you who entered and didn’t win, you can still get your copies at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, through the Book Bar or requesting a copy from your local independent bookstore. If you’d like a signed copy, always feel free to contact me personally through my contact form here!

On Donating Royalties

The first quarter for my first novel has ended, and I’ve gotta say I think I’ve done decently well. It’s sitting at a 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, a 5 star rating on Barnes & Noble and a 4.5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Online, through my publisher and through reviews and consignment acquisitions, I’ve gotten about fifty some books out there, floating around. Not the thousands that every author dreams of, but I’m pretty proud of myself. For this quarter, I get the quarter-royalty for about twenty or so of those books. Which brings me to the point of my post- I have committed myself to donating 10% of my royalties every quarter to help locally combat domestic violence, with the first effort being through donating to SafeHouse Denver*. This quarter, however, that comes out to about a dollar.

Now I don’t want to be a liar- I’ve committed myself to this entirely. So I don’t want to not donate anything for this quarter. But I also doubt the effectiveness of donating a dollar. I considered combining quarters until I had a suitable amount of royalty to donate. However, I recognize the kind of trap that can lead me into, morally. I also believe that would be rather petty of me, in the long run.

So here is the solution I have come to, currently: At the end of every quarter, I will donate a base amount of $10, regardless how many copies of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls sells. (Hopefully, after I graduate college and have a more stable career, I will be able to increase that base amount.) Starting with this royalty period, I will begin to keep track of how much my royalties amount to, how much that would mean donation wise, and will collaborate this with how much was donated and to where each period. I want to be entirely upfront about how, when, where, what and why I am donating right from the get go.

If you’re interested in donating to the organization directly yourself, feel free to click on the link provided above. Remember, 10% of all author royalties from ‘Till the Last Petal Falls will be donated to support local battered women’s services in Colorado (or a base donation of $10 every quarter).  If you want some other ideas on how to donate, or support the fight against violence in relationships, click on any (or all) of these links:

Hopeline: Donate old/unused cellphones to be refurbished and distributed to victims, as well as awarding cash grants to domestic violence organizations

Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Strengthens shelters and programs throughout Colorado (the author’s home state, and the setting of the novel)

Men Stopping Violence:  Engaging Men in creating safer communities for women and girls

SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone):  Helping those who are otherwise overlooked in the fight against domestic violence, including straight men, GLBT victims, teens and the elderly.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

More links to these organizations, and many other organizations like them, can be found here on the Family Tree website. If you have an organization that you favor or donate to regularly, why not mention it in the comments so that me and other followers of this blog can see it?

We can all make a difference.

*Donations to SafeHouse Denver

will be entirely made out of the author’s own free will.

This does not constitute any endorsement

by said organization to ‘Till the Last Petal Falls. 

Unique and Honest

A four-star review for the Kindle version of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls: 

This unique modernized telling of Beauty and the Beast is very easy to relate to, far more than the classic versions. With a similar tone to many of the novels written by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Elizabeth Rose addresses many of the challenges faced by real people in the world today… once the plot begins to twist and take flight it becomes impossible to put down until the end. The life written into this book by Rose ensures that it will become somewhat of a classic, at least among youth as they struggle to discover themselves and find their own way.

Thank you, Ashlea Kelsey! Click here to read the full review .

Things That Excite Me: Local Bookstores (And Wine!)

logo   As of today, the Bookbar in Denver (off of wonderful Tennyson street) now carries ‘Till the Last Petal Falls as part of its local authors showcase. Considering the fact that this store is quickly becoming my own favorite (it’s a bookstore and a wine lounge, how much classier can you get?) I am beyond ecstatic for the opportunity to have my own work on their shelves. Stay tuned for an author event, tentatively to be scheduled in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the meantime, why not support a new author, battered women’s shelters in Denver, and an innovative independent bookstore all at once and get your copy from the Bookbar?  I’m sure the staff there would love to see all of your bright, shining faces (they are very friendly, I often just stop in to chat- they have a lot of good recommendations, and don’t mind if you just come in for a glass of wine and bring your own book!). There’s even a Little Free Library outside their doors that’s always worth checking out, as well as the paired Wine and Book of the month!

Why I Write: About Abusive Relationships

I’ve promised to write this post for a long time, and I honestly thought it would be easier to do. However, the past couple of times I’ve tried to sit down and write this, I’ve ended up gravitating away from my computer in a kind of act of self-preservation. You’d think, having just finished and published an entire novel about abusive relationships, I wouldn’t have this kind of aversion to it. It just goes to show, it never gets easier.

For those of you who have read or heard about my first novel, ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, you might know that it uses the classic fairytale, Beauty & the Beast, as a lens through which to analyze an abusive relationship. Through this, I show a couple of my own theories regarding societal views of abuse, and attempt to accurately portray the real-time feelings of an abused woman.

Now, I wish I could say that that experience was entirely fabricated. To be honest, however, I probably wouldn’t have written the novel if it had been. As it is, I remember reading about abusive relationships when I was younger and in the midst of abuse, and not really caring. Abuse didn’t happen to people like me- middle class, blonde-hair-light-eyes white girls with decent families and good grades. It wouldn’t really be until I got into college, and began talking to other survivors of abusive relationships that I realized that that is what I had been in- several abusive relationships, one after the other, in a vicious cycle that lasted years.

My mother has admitted her own fear that her practice of corporeal punishment on me as a small child might have predisposed me to seeing physical punishment as being more normal for ‘deviant’ behavior, but I knew the difference between a spanking, and what was being done to me. I didn’t ‘float away’, or mentally shut down as it was happening. I was entirely present- but I still didn’t believe that what was happening was abuse. I will not go into gross detail as to what happened, or how, or how long. As it is, it is enough to admit that some of the things that happen in my novel happened to me- whether they got downplayed or had details changed in transit to a fictional narrative. violence

I never planned on writing about my experiences. And why would I? The memories made me feel physically ill. I wasn’t a huge fan of talking about it- mostly because I didn’t want to admit that it had happened, whether it was admitting it to myself, or to others. I opened up to my friends first, and years later would finally admit what had happened to my mother. She cried, a lot. Like me, she couldn’t imagine that something like this would happen to someone like me.

It’s that kind of mentality that I wanted to address first, when writing this novel. The idea that abuse only happens to certain kinds of people. First of all, no one deserves abuse. Saying that ‘someone like me’ couldn’t be hurt is on the same coin as ‘someone not like me’ is more likely, or more deserving, of this kind of treatment. So my protagonist was to come from a good family, be a good, smart girl, and good-looking. I also wanted to address the idea that there is only ‘one kind’ of abuse. There are at least four abuse victims, of both genders, in ‘Till the Last Petal Falls. If you’ve read it, did you recognize them all?

When I read stories about abusive relationships in high school, it seemed like the abuse was either always happening to small children, troublemaking teens, or older, married women. Not straight-A teenagers in a higher end neighborhood, like me. The victim always knew what was happening to them, recognized it as abuse, but kept on going because they ‘loved’ the abuser enough, or trusted them. While I know that this can be the experience of some victims, I knew that part of the problem with me recognizing that what had happened to me was abuse was that I had never seen abuse framed in the way it happened to me before. I just kept taking the advice of my similarly young and naïve friends: love him more, and he will change. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to ask for help, and no one knew how to ask me if anything was wrong.

In my experience, hundreds of victims are silenced and kept from speaking out about their abuse due to several factors. One, the stigma of being a victim. There is still a lingering idea in society that abuse victims, and rape victims, deserve the violence they get. Why complain when the rest of the world is telling you that you got what you deserved? Two, the stereotype of a victim.  I was stuck in the mentality that abuse ‘couldn’t happen to me’. I can’t tell you how many more people I’ve encountered who never spoke up because of the same idea- female on female abusive relationships, one-sided love abuse, female on male abuse, male on male abuse, child on parent abuse… the list goes on. Three, the horror of abuse tends to lead support systems to try to find any other reason for the abuser’s behavior that doesn’t point to abuse. Case in point, I had been trying to get advice, and help, only several months into the abuse. Every time, my friends and adult confidants tried to explain away the behavior of my attackers. They didn’t want to face the horror of abuse themselves, and so put it back on me- the bringer of ‘bad news’- and successfully, for many years, convinced me that the beatings I had been enduring were not, in fact, abuse.

So I endeavored to write a story that would share some of the things that I’ve learned about myself in the most accessible way that I knew how- by manipulating the stories that we know and love, to let them be a comfort for the reader as they delve in some of the darker aspects of their own reality, in order to bring up new questions surrounding what many people mistakenly believe to be a ‘dead subject’. I know that my experience is not ‘the’ experience for abuse victims. Every victim reacts, protects themselves, and heals in different ways. It is my hope, however, that by adding my voice to the crowd that I would be able to foster more discussion about how to prevent abuse, how to detect abuse, and how to live on after being a victim. The novel itself was created to raise awareness, while the donated royalties will serve to support organizations locally who are using their own unique gifts and resources to ensure that not one more man, woman or child is allowed to be abused in our society without justice being found. My hope is that by sharing this story, even if it is fiction, we can continue this conversation about abusive relationships without shame or stigma.

In wrapping up this post, I would simply leave with a polite request that my readers not ask me to delve into specifics about my own experience with abuse. What I have put in my novel is what I am comfortable with sharing. If I wish to tell more at any time, it is my decision to do so. I only ask that you respect my decision, both in sharing as much as I have about my history of abuse and my refusal to share more, from here on out.

God Bless.

 

Another Five-Star Review from Succotash Book Reviews!

Today, ‘Till the Last Petal Falls was reviewed by Renee Shelton of Succotash Book Reviews, and here is a highlight :

 

….The story has a running theme: accept responsibility for your actions and be honest with yourself. The best line in the book comes from an unexpected visitor during an especially dramatic point:

“Trauma does not create a monster. A man always has a choice.”

…This was an exciting read. I love retellings of old fairy tales, but this one had characters that were much more flawed and much more vulnerable. Their hurts were genuinely described, in sometimes gruesome detail. I especially enjoyed the author’s choice of not using the basic template of Beauty and the Beast: the beauty doesn’t just save the beast with her love, she must first accept herself before she can love. That is the most important lesson for any young person to learn from any tale, modern or fairy.

Thank you, Renee! To read the full review, click here, and maybe even pick up one or two more recommendations from her list!

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Click here to buy your own copy, in paperback for $16.95  or in ebook form for $5.99!