Ending the Year Right!

To Dwell in Dreams, the second novel of the ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, made the ‘Favorite Books of 2014’ list of fellow eLectio author, Amanda Romine Lynch! I feel so honored- and motivated to keep chugging along with the third book, The Thing About Apples, which is currently in progress.

(And don’t forget, if you haven’t read To Dwell in Dreams yet that you can still start from the beginning of the series with Til the Last Petal Falls! Great way to start your year of reading in 2015!)

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World of Ink Radio Interview

Tomorrow at 3:45 Eastern time, I will be calling in to Book Discussion hosted by Fran Lewis, as part of her ‘Mystery Thursday’ segment.  Myself and a couple of other authors will be discussing how to create suspense and thrill in fiction, as well as answering questions that you can write in in the open chat room.

 

(In the other time zones, the show will be broadcast at 3PM Central, 2PM Mountain, or 1PM Pacific Standard)

A Dark Twist on a Beloved Fairy Tale That Will Draw You Into Its Clutches!

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A five-star review from Momma Chaos, of Reviewing in Chaos:  (full review can be found if you click that link)

I personally was amazed at how drawn in I was. How I missed some of the signs and symptoms until the very end… This is definitely not a light read. It will pull you in and force you to face the hidden side of humanity. The dark side that we chose to turn away from and pretend it’s not there.

A story of child abuse, self-mutilation, and domestic violence that will wrap it’s tentacles so tightly around you, you will be left gasping for breath. I highly recommend this story and personally can’t wait to read more as Elizabeth takes on other fairy tales and brings new things to light for us to see.

Glad you enjoyed it, Momma! The overwhelmingly positive response to this first novel has left me geared up and ready to go with the rest of the series!

(If you haven’t got your copy of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls yet, it’s available in both eBook and paperback versions now- from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a couple local bookstores. Check here  for all the possible places you can get yours! If you’re looking to breaking into my work slowly (and cheaply), why not also check out some of my short works? )

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 .

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!