Exit Wound

EXIT WOUND by Alexandra Moore
Genre: New Adult Thriller
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
– SYNOPSIS –
Being crowned as royalty in Rosewood Academy’s secret society wasn’t in Bea Morrison’s plans…
A senior in high school, Bea’s life changed forever when a tragic car crash claimed her best friend’s life, leaving her devastated and alone. Now at Rosewood Academy of Arts, Bea owes a debt. With her best friend no longer queen, it’s up to Bea to be fulfill the role until graduation.
There is nothing money can’t buy, including Crosley’s king status…
When Bea accepts her place as queen, the arrogant Crosley is quick to remind her of her royal duties. Obsessed with the era of the Tudors, Crosley insists they must consummate their relationship—but spousal duties aren’t what Bea signed up for. When she rejects Crosley’s proposal, his expectations twist into absolute obsession.
A sadistic mind makes for an expert stalker…
After graduation, Bea thinks the nightmare of Rosewood Academy is over. She’s pleasantly surprised to reconnect with the gorgeous Everett Thompson, a drummer for her brother’s band. As feelings from their past fling resurface, Bea hopes for a fresh start with the guy who got away.
Bea’s hopes are shattered when she receives threatening texts from Crosley, who is still determined to collect his debt. And as Crosley continues to pursue her, a terrible tragedy proves he is even more dangerous than she feared.
If Bea has learned one thing, it’s that life is too fragile, and it’s anybody’s guess who will make it out of this nightmare alive.

– PURCHASE –
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/1YVjgwd
PAPERBACK: http://amzn.to/217jelW
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/1YVjinD



– EXCERPT –

While I was working backstage later that
evening, I heard a few new guests entering the premises. One was K.L., and the
other was Ella Green. Ella Green was well known for her publicity stunts and
her YouTube videos. Although I had never seen one, I was pretty sure she was
here to interview the band. As for K.L., he was here for the same reason he was
at the diner where we had lunch: to reel me into his world. I refused, knowing that
wouldn’t stop him from trying again.
 
“Frances, can you take Ms. Green and Mr.
James to the green room?” one roadie asked me. I threw the towel I was
haphazardly folding to the side, and I went to guide Ella and K.L. to the green
room.
 
When we got there Ben was celebrating
something, and he wanted me to hear it. He showed me the invitation that had
been waiting for them when they got here. It was for the American Music Awards
in November, and when I saw that he and the band were nominated for an award, I
was just as giddy with excitement as the whole lot of them. Ben and I hugged
and jumped up and down, squealing in excitement.
 
After we came back to our senses I said,
“Oh, guys Ella Green and K.L are here.” The sound of Ella’s name struck a fire
in Ben. Not a good fire either.
 
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
 
Ella was suddenly screaming at Ben. I
was so confused, and so when Ella kept yelling, I yelled over her.
 
“Shut up! What the hell is going on?” I
asked.
 
Ben waved his hand, signaling that I
should leave this alone and I ignored him.
 
“Don’t you know?” Ella said. “I wanted
to date the wonderful Ben Morrison, but he refused. He refused! Like, who refuses to date me? I’m Ella Green for Christ’s
sake, I’m the mother—”
 
“It’s time to shut up, Ella. I can see
your ego loud and clear.” She gasped at my comment, more enraged that I even
spoke to her during her outburst than the fact that my brother had refused her
invitation.
 
“Who are you? Like, what are you even
doing here? You were folding towels when I came in, you’re a little good for
nothing—”
 
It was a reflex, and I mean it when I
say this—but I punched her in the nose. Usually I’m pretty good at controlling
my anger, and other times I don’t realize how angry I am and my reflexes take over.
She was wailing like a child, and holding her head back as she stumbled around as
if my punch to her nose had debilitated her ability to maintain her balance.
 
“Dammit, Frances! Do you know who she
is?” Ben was yelling at me now, and I didn’t know how to react. He was rushing
to get towels and ice for Ella.
 
After a medic checked her nose and said
it was fine, she was escorted off the premises, all the while shouting about
how I was going to pay for this. I was like a child stuck in the time out
corner when Ben came back. My arms were wrapped around myself for safety, and I
hung my head in shame.
“What are you doing, Bea? Do you want to
get us into trouble? She’s a YouTube star. She could easily post a rant about
this and make it go viral overnight!”
 
It was time to prepare for the show, and
I tried to leave, except Ben wouldn’t stop yelling.
 
“Frances, if you keep screwing things up
the way you are, I’m going to regret ever bringing you on this tour! How can I
show the world how wonderful my sister is if she keeps acting like a whiny,
spoiled brat with an uncontrollable right hook?”
 
I could tell Everett was about to call
him out on his behavior, but I shot him a look that told him not to.
 
“I’m sorry, Ben, it won’t happen again.
I’ll go back to folding towels.” I had never been so isolated and demeaned in
my life. So much for sibling love.

 

 

 

 – ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
My name is Alexandra Moore. I’ve been creating stories since I could talk. I’ve been putting them onto paper since I could write. Writing books is my dream and my passion, along side with rescuing African Pygmy Hedgehogs, retired race Greyhounds, French Bulldogs, and other various animals I’m probably allergic too.

I’m convinced I’m the blood of the dragon, and the Mother of Dragons.

When I’m not watching GoT, I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy (again) on Netflix, and crying over all the MerDer feels. I also spend time with my Boston Terrier Tank and my boyfriend. Both are my cuddle buddies, and I’m afraid the dog is around more often. I don’t bite (unless provoked) so feel free to tweet at me, or leave a comment on one of my InstaPics. I can’t wait until my book is in print, and to share my thoughts with the rest of the world.

– Social Media Links –

Limitless Publishing: http://bit.ly/248Icnw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amooreauthor

 – GIVEAWAY –

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A Salute to Villains

With the Oscars around the corner, I decided to write a piece on something related to movies. What’s a good book without a villain or villainess? In We Will Always Have the Closet  there are two, even though we really don’t find out about the second one until much closer to the end. I enjoyed writing them, in spite of my love for my MCs, just as much as I have enjoyed some of the villains of literature and film.

As I was thinking about writing this blog and going through the long list of villains I have loved in novels and in movies, I realized that some of my favorites were played by the same actor in the big screen. He was just awesome at playing the bad guy, I guess. I’m speaking of the late Alan Rickman, of course.

If you’re a young one, chances are you missed his performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves back in the day. He co-starred with Kevin Costner and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and even though he was supposed to be in a “support role”, he ruled the screen with his psychotic outbursts and his funny, yet-terrifying one liners. The most famous from that movie is when he claims he will cut Robin’s heart with a spoon. As ridiculous as the line is, Rickman made it sound terrifying and threatening.

With-a-spoon

Of course, most people today think of Harry Potter and Professor Snape when referring to this great actor. Snape is still one of my favorite villains of all times. He is slimy in his looks, his speech, and his attitude. He exudes that snake-like quality that the character has in the books and brings it to life in the screen. As much as we hate Snape there is also that side of him that makes you pity him and almost like him  thanks to the genius of J.K. Rowling. If that’s hard to write, I’m sure it is as hard to show it in acting.  Alan Rickman made it look easy. Watching Snape, especially toward the end of the series, was almost physically painful because you can feel the divide between that part of him that was good and loving and the persona he had become tinted by anger and hate. Rickman made Snape pop out from the pages of a book and retain his richness and depth of character. Not an easy feat as many book to screen adaptations seem to show.

Snape

I have always heard that playing a villain is much harder than playing the good guy. I always thought that was not true until one day, many years ago, when I was working as a “animateur” in a Club Med-type vacation spot. We were staging a lip-synched performance of Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha and I, being new to the entertainment world, was given a very minor part playing one of the prostitutes in the tavern where Dulcinea worked. I was supposed to look scraggly and be kind of evil, making fun of poor deluded Don Quixote. That was a total fail! Not only I couldn’t come up with a disgusting look no matter how much make-up I applied to my face (my  sub-consciousness was guiding me into making me look better, not worse) but when I tried to act like the cruel woman I was supposed to be, I came across as the town idiot. Not easy being the bad guy, after all.

My hat goes off to all the amazing actors and actresses who throughout the years have brought all these rich–if not likable–characters to life in the big screen. But especially for my favorite villains played to perfection by the amazing Alan Rickman.

A Chat with Debbie De Louise

Today I have with me Debbie De Louise a fellow writer at Limitless Publishing. Debbie has authored a self-published romantic suspense novel, “Cloudy Rainbow” (Booklocker 2008) that received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest self-published awards. Her second romantic suspense  novel, “A Stone’s Throw” was released by Limitless Publishing, LLC in November 2015. She is hoping to publish the sequel (possible 2nd in the series) in Spring 2016.

stonesthrowebookcover

Hi Debbie, welcome to my blog.

D- Glad to be here, Natalina.

When I write, I am afraid I am not much of a planner. I normally start with an idea and a couple characters and I just let it develop as I write. What about you? Are you a plotter or a pantster?

D – I used to be 90 percent pantster and 10 percent plotter. Now I’m about 80 percent pantster and 20 percent plotter, but I would like to change that to 50/50 or at least 60/40 eventually because planning is important as long as you can keep it flexible.

What genre do you write? What made you want to write in that genre and for that age group?

D – I write adult fiction. The exact genre is hard to pinpoint. My books are a blend of mystery and romance with minimum gore and no explicit sex. Reviewers consider them cozy mysteries.

I find it hard  to place my writing into a single genre, as well. When did you decide you would like to be a writer? Have you always liked to write?

D – I’ve loved writing since I first learned how. Authors were my heroes, and I still admire them.

There are a lot of books and authors that I admire and I sometimes wish I could have been the one writing a particular work. For example, I would have loved to have written the Book Thief by Markus Zusak. What book do you wish you would have written? Why?

D – That’s an interesting question, and I don’t really have an answer except to say that I’d like to write the best book I can, not necessarily a bestseller although that would be nice, but the best book that’s inside of me and waiting to come out.

My current project is in a very different genre than my first. Have you written or plan to write in other genres?

D – My first book that was self-published was a paranormal romance. I always like to put a little mystery and romance in my books. I’ve written one soft science fiction story, but I wouldn’t want to write in that genre or in horror (although I like reading both occasionally). I had hoped to write a children’s book with my daughter a few years ago, but neither of us found the time to do that and now she’s approaching her teens and busy with her school work and social life.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

D – I really can’t write really explicit sex scenes. I just feel they detract from a good book. I know some people enjoy them, but I like to write emotionally appealing scenes and develop characters. I’d rather be inside a character’s head than with them in bed if you know what I mean.

What’s in your reading list right now?

D = Lol. Do you really want to know? My TBR is huge, but here are some of my upcoming reads. I just finished J.P. Ratto’s wonderful mystery, Everything to Lose, and am currently reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. The top layer of my TBR pile of print books includes Dial QR for Murder by A.E.H. Veenman; The Locker by Adrian Magson; Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt; and Copper Lilies by Bradon Nave. My Kindle TBR pile of ebooks includes His Confession by Sophia Valentine; Love or Money by Elizabeth Roderick; Sweet on You by Marianne Rice; Maggie’s Marriage by Gloria Herrmann; and Without You by Lisa Detwiler. I also have some books in my Amazon cart including your book, We Will Always Have the Closet; Till Death Us Do Part by Cristina Slough; Changing Teams by Jennifer Allis Provost; Russian Tattoos Obsession by Kat Shehata; and The Dangerous Gift by Jane Hunt.

Your list is about as long as mine. LOL. Now, I know your books are going to be extremely successful and one of these days a big Hollywood producer is going to want to make a movie out of it. Who will play your main characters?

D – This is a great question, but it’s hard to answer because I don’t watch many movies or even TV. I spend most of my time on the computer or reading. However, I can see Julia Roberts as Alicia and Matthew McConaughey as John.

Good choice. I work full time as a teacher and it’s really hard to find time to write. You work as a librarian. How do you find time to write and do you have a special place where you write?

D – I write from 5 am to 6 am every morning before my daughter gets up for school. I also try to write another hour at night if I’m not too tired and can fit it in after work. On the weekends, I sometimes write less because I’m off schedule and have to do household stuff.

Do you have any advice to give new writers? When you first started writing for publication what were your expectations and were they met?

D – I can only repeat what all writers say because it’s true. You can’t give up. You have to be persistent. It’s not an easy field to break into and even when you do, it’s extremely hard to become noticed. It takes time. You have to build a fan base. You have to keep writing. You have to learn so many things. You need to network with other authors. You have to learn to sell yourself as well as your books. It’s fun, but it’s exhausting. You have to love it and not worry about making money immediately. But when people write good reviews of your work or compliment you on your books, it’s all worth it.

As far as my expectations, I think publishing lived up to them pretty much because I knew it would be difficult, but I also knew it would be exciting and rewarding to see my words in print and know that people all over the world can be reading them at any given minute.

Thank you Debbie for your time. It was very nice talking to you. I hope I get to chat with you again soon.

Check out Debbie’s book “A Stone’s Throw” at Amazon http://amzn.to/1MjaJgN 

Or visit her blog https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com/

 

 

Coffee House Inspiration

I have been reading articles about the strange inclination that writers seem to have to write in coffee shops even when they have perfectly good offices at home. I’m one of them. I have a whole room dedicated to scholarly pursuits (originally set up as a refuge for the overflow of my classroom materials), an actual library (small one but wonderful) with a bay window and a comfy chair, and of course my couch with its IKEA laptop stand. Yet, I never seem to write as well and as profusely as when I’m sitting at my double-seater Panera Bread booth. Why is that? It is not the quietest place in the world and even though it is comfortable, I have to work on my Kindle because I don’t carry my laptop around.

I thought about it quite a bit and came to a few conclusions. Home offices may be quiet and comfy, but they do not offer inspiration for characters and plots. Let me explain. In the few years I have been a regular at my local Panera (and I am such a regular the employees know me by name) I have collected many stories (yet to be written) from what happens around me.

There is a couple that came for breakfast every weekend and met with their young daughter and grandbaby. The husband, clearly much older than the wife, walked with difficulty and had a kind, quiet face. A few months ago, he quit coming. Now, I see the wife frequently with another lady that I believe to be her sister, but no husband. In my head I know he must have passed away or is now in an assisted living facility. The daughter and grandchild don’t come either anymore so I’m guessing they moved away. Characters for a future novel.

There is an odd young man who seems to assume and shed personas like shirts. He has been a Matrix-type character, complete with black hat, long trench coat, and a heavy long wooden staff. He has been the quirky-poet type with a goatee, small round glasses, a small hard bound book in his hand. The last time I saw him he was a stylish priest of some kind, sporting a clerical collar, a black damask blazer, a vest and a pristine white shirt. Haven’t seen him in a while. My theory is that someone took exception to his “disguises” and had Panera issue a restraining order.

If I wrote at home I would miss all this rich tapestry of characters and plot ideas. The human energy you get in a heavily caffeinated place feeds my inspiration and keeps me going. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

His Confession

HIS CONFESSION by S. Valentine
The Black Door Trilogy, #1
GENRE: Erotic Romance
PUBLISHER: Limitless Publishing
★ SYNOPSIS ★
When Gabriella Woods finds matches from a gentlemen’s club in her fiancé’s pocket, her suspicions require a search for answers.
 At the club, she realizes it’s not her fiancé’s fidelity that can’t be trusted…
 It’s her own.
 Darion Milano is daring, intriguing, and unpredictable…
 Unable to get him out of her head—and against Darion’s explicit warning—
Gabi begins a torrid affair. No longer fighting the urge to enter the depth of his dark and mysterious lifestyle, she indulges in his most intimate desires.
They become the most exciting, wild, infatuated couple everybody knows.
 Until his confession changes everything…
 Her heart is telling her to stay.
 Her instinct is telling her to run.
 She can never match his outrageous ex-wife and become the fun, fearless woman he craves…
Or can she?
Discover a world of sex, secrets, and seduction.


★ PURCHASE 
AMAZON US – Kindle: http://amzn.to/1PA96Nr
AMAZON US – Paperback: http://amzn.to/1oEu3Ov
AMAZON UK – Kindle: http://amzn.to/1NTaEhj
AMAZON UK – Paperback: http://amzn.to/1NTaEhj
 
★ BOOK TRAILER ★

 

★ ★  WHAT EARLY REVIEWERS ARE SAYING ABOUT HIS CONFESSION ★ ★ 


“His Confession was a surprisingly engaging read with believable characters who were easy to connect with.It dealt with subjects a little different to what I’m used to, but the author did a great job of pulling me into her world.” – Mia Hoddell, YA/NA author.
”His Confession pulled me through from the first paragraph! The enigmatic Darion practically leapt off the pages and I could picture his every move and facial expression clear as day in my head! This story is definitely one to add to your “want-to-read” list-especially if you love a captivating plot as well as scenes so hot that they fog up your glasses. I don’t want to say too much and spoil it for future readers but DARION and GABI put Christian and Ana to SHAME! Enough said. LOL.” – Kiarra M. Taylor, contemporary romance author of THE QUARTER CHANGE.
”I loved it and I’m excited to read more to find out what happens. Darion is a great guy who was hurt badly and doesn’t know how to handle, which in steps Gabi. Love love love her! Hopefully she fights for him! When does the next book come out, as I’m dying to know what comes next! I also hope the girls get their own stories.” – Susan Flynn, Beta reader Writers club.
”S. Valentine does an exquisite job at creating a dynamic between two characters, both from different worlds, that goes beyond a physical attraction. His Confession is book one in The Black Door Trilogy. It is a fast paced story that is full of hotness and anticipation that heats you up from your head to your toes. Gabi, is tired of always playing it safe. Darion, has demons that he can no longer control. When these two get together, boundaries are pushed, control is tested and emotions run wild.” – AV. Scott, author of High Heels & New York.
“A brilliant book which leaves you wondering what happened in Darion’s past that has left him so wary and so afraid to put himself and his heart out there not to mention to put his faith and trust in Gabi, the one woman whose managed to penetrate the walls he’s built. I can’t wait for book 2 and I’m hoping that Darion and Gabi can overcome the obstacles that stand in front of them, including Eva, Darion’s ex wife.” – Rebecca Barber, author Nobody’s Obligation.

 

 

★ GIVEAWAY 

Fancy WINNING an eBook of His Confession and book swag, consisting of: 4 bracelets, 6 key-ring, 1 notepad, 1 pen, postcard teasers, stickers and more? All you have to do is ‘like’ S.Valentine’s Facebook page, and add her book cover as your Facebook profile image for the rest of the day 🙂 Comment on the page when done! www.facebook.com/SophiaValentineAuthor

 

★ ★  ABOUT THE AUTHOR ★ 
S. Valentine grew up in England. Studying English language and literature, as well as law, she worked in a solicitors for many years before moving to Spain. She does however still visit the UK, which in a way, will always be home.
Returning to her lifelong passion of writing books, she’s also a weekly columnist for The Ibizan newspaper on: lifestyle and fashion. Her other interests include reading, shopping and a nice glass of wine. She’s a social media addict, and loves connecting with new people.
For more information, please visit: www.s-valentine.wix.com/books. If you join her newsletter, you will be the first to receive sneak peeks of chapters, teasers, news, giveaway prizes and more!
Newsletter sign up: www.s-valentine.wix.com/books

Doubt- Writers’ Kryptonite

Writers are funny. Not funny aha-ah but funny peculiar. All right, so some writers are also funny ah-ah, but I will be focusing on the peculiar side of things today. I’m a writer. Always have been a writer since the first time I was able to put two words together. However for the most part I’ve been a “closet” writer–and no, this is not a plug for my novel We Will Always Have the Closet (see what I did there? I plugged it anyway). The truth is I have been terrified of showing my writing to anyone (teachers and family don’t count. Neither of them are very objective, I’ve found) until a little over a year ago when I joined the wonderful Sippy Cups and Semantics (I know. I’ve mentioned this before, but just bear with me). I had kind of given up on the dream of becoming a published author. After trying it for a few years and getting nothing but rejections and once the market became pretty much closed for non-agented authors I figured I did not stand a chance (back then I had no clue as to how to get an agent). .

Imagine my shock and pleasure when I landed myself a publishing contract after all these years. So, now I am a published author. My name is on the cover of a book that people I don’t know are actually reading. Exciting, right? Wrong! It’s terrifying…

For the past few weeks since my book has been released I’m in a constant state of fear and doubt. My very first review was good, but got followed by a short one calling my writing cheesy. Is my writing really cheesy? I love cheese, but should that be in any way connected to my writing skills? What exactly does that mean? OMG, I suck at writing, I scream in my head.

Somebody else says it was an easy read. Is that bad? I personally don’t enjoy books that make me want to scratch my own eyes out in confusion, but is being an easy read a good thing? As a girl being called easy is not good. How does that translate into literature? OMG is my book the floozy of the literary world?

If people come and ask me about my books I blush and think, “I better not make too much fuss about it. What if they read it and hate it?” If people don’t buy the books, “My book must suck. No-one is buying it.”

Seasoned authors, when does this madness end? Does it ever end? I’m getting ready to submit my second novel and the doubt is eating me alive. Will publishers like it enough to want it published? Did I put too much cheese into it? Not enough? Is it too easy? Or maybe it’s too hard…

Make it stop! Please, make it stop…

Like I said, writers are funny people never one hundred percent satisfied with their work, never totally sure of their skills and talent, tormented by doubt and fear. Maybe someone should write a horror story about this…hmm, Stephen King are you available?

 

The Politics of Writing Diversity

-Fellow Limitless Publishing author Elizabeth Roderick wrote this great article about writing diversity. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth. Enjoy and comment below.-

The Politics of Writing Diversity

by Elizabeth Roderick

* Note to readers: I use the term “neurodiverse” in this piece. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it refers to people generally called “mentally ill”. I prefer “neurodiverse” for reasons I will explain in the article. Thank you for reading.*

Writing is a complex art. Words can be interpreted in so many different ways, depending on the background, culture, and experiences of the person interpreting them. We have to be aware of this, especially when we touch on emotional subjects such as diversity. However, if we have political concerns in the forefront of our minds—if we are walking on eggshells trying not to offend anyone—we run the risk of self-censoring, of watering down our characters and stories so that they lose their vibrancy and impact. They become soulless sermons that exist only to convey a moralizing message, and lose the beauty of art. I am going to explore how to find a balance when writing diversity.

I’ll start out by telling you about myself. My name is Elizabeth Roderick. I’m the author of many diverse books, and am myself a diverse person. I have a novel published, a racially-diverse LGBT romantic thriller titled Love or Money. I also have a series contracted, The Other Place Series, which is about a young woman trying to kick heroin and get her life together, and a young schizophrenic man attempting to make it as an artist. The first two installments of that series are set to release on May 31, 2016 and July 5, 2016.

My personal diversity is neurodiversity. I’m very high-functioning, but I have suffered from bouts of psychosis since I was a teenager, and have had a series of doctors and psychiatrists diagnose me with every letter in the alphabet.

So, now that you have some idea where I’m coming from and what my “expertise” is, let’s get to the subject at hand.

I recently had a blog reader take issue with my article on Writing Complex and “Mentally Ill” Characters. https://elizabethroderick.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/writing-complex-and-mentally-ill-characters/  He is a disability advocate, and had a problem with some of the terminology I used and concepts I presented. It was his first time reading one of my blog posts, and so he lacked context: he didn’t know I was speaking as an insider (which is my bad: I’d gotten so tired of talking about my psychosis etc. in other blog posts, that it seemed like tedious overkill to mention it again).

Furthermore, the reader, as a person with a physical disability, was sensitive to things potentially harmful to disabled people and their cause of equality. I can relate. You can get tetchy about that sort of thing when you’re constantly dealing with the fact society is set up to exclude people like you, and will discriminate and even physically harm you just because of who you are.

I am happy to say that this man and I worked it out, and we ended up Twitter friends. But it made me examine the language we use in speaking about diversity, because of how tricky it can become. In fact, this man, in taking me to task for my language, used language in referring to neurodiverse people that insulted me. The irony made me laugh out loud at the time—which I was glad about, because I needed a laugh.

He insulted me by referring to neurodiverse people as “disabled” and “mentally ill”. I understand that these terms are valid ones in their way, and I will use them on occasion. For instance, I’ll use “disabled” when pulling the ADA card, when the police or business owners harass or otherwise discriminate against my best friend, who is schizophrenic (people who don’t know him often get nervous and think he’s dangerous and/or on drugs. He’s not). In these cases, I’ll bring up the Americans with Disabilities Act and remind them my friend is part of a protected class of people, and they could be liable to penalties and other action if they discriminate against him.

Despite occasionally making good use of the term, however, neither I nor my friend (or any of my other neurodiverse friends and family) are mentally disabled, in my opinion. We definitely have our struggles, but I feel the disability is more society’s than ours, because we’re both incredibly productive in the right environment. (For a further exploration of this difficult topic, you can read my piece  On Madness and the Nature of Reality). https://elizabethroderick.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/on-madness-and-the-nature-of-reality/

At any rate, if you call either one of us disabled, we will take offense.

I also use “mentally ill” on occasion, because most people don’t know what “neurodiverse” means, but I feel it’s a misleading term to be used in general. Sure, when I’m in the midst of a psychotic break or in a deep depression, I’m certainly ill, the way my body is ill when I have the flu. The rest of the time, I’m not. I may be, as a lot of people behind my back (or occasionally to my face) have said, “a little bit off”, or “eccentric”, but that’s not a frigging illness, people. We weirdos are what make life interesting.

Notice I used the term “weirdos”. This was one of the terms the blog reader took offense to: I used the term “weird” in referring to my complex and neurodiverse characters. I used the word fairly unthinkingly, because I was raised thinking “weird” was a compliment. I like being called “weird” instead of “off”, “mentally ill” or even “neurodiverse”. I also used it because, in context, I wasn’t referring just to neurodiverse characters, but also “complex” ones, so I used a catch-all term I felt was aptly descriptive.

For the reader, though, the term wasn’t apt; he was reading it as a physically disabled person, and he feels a kinship with all those he considers disabled, which for him includes the neurodiverse. I can well imagine why the reader doesn’t want to be called “weird” for using crutches or a wheelchair, especially because he hails from a different country where the term doesn’t carry the same colors and connotations that it does for me—a grunge-era girl from Seattle.

So, should I have changed my voice and not used the term “weird”? Or should I have used it along with a convoluted caveat, thus destroying the flow of the piece? Well, in this case, I kept the term, but added a caveat at the beginning of the post to give readers context about me. When we are writing stories, however, we don’t generally have this option; most readers aren’t going to plunge into the story knowing the writer’s background and beliefs, and so might misinterpret our narrative as being ignorance, bigotry, or an outsider’s point of view. Before I get to how I deal with this problem in fiction writing, I’ll talk about another way we can touch off political angst in writing about diversity: how we present concepts relating to diverse people.

Another thing my blog reader took issue with was the fact I said you could make readers relate to your complex and neurodiverse characters by showing they had a special skill. In my reader’s mind, this technique reinforces the stereotype of the “magical autistic person”. Autism is another form of neurodiversity that I have some personal experience with, and I completely agree with my reader that this tired “Rain Man” stereotype is aggravating. However, a large number of my neurodiverse friends and family have extraordinary talents in real life, and I don’t want to censor myself from writing about talented neurodiverse characters, because I feel they’re realistic. Also, neurodiverse people get so little respect from society in general, why should I be shy of writing about one of the things some of us are respected for?

My reader did make me second-guess myself, though. I don’t want to reinforce tired or unfounded stereotypes. In his words, he thought my piece didn’t “anticipate how clichéd a view of disability normie [this is how he refers to non-disabled, neurotypical people] writers have, how they’ll view what you wrote through misconceptions.” It made me take a second look at the schizophrenic main character in my Other Place series, and think about how people will view him.

This is something we should always do with our diverse characters, at least after we’ve written their stories: do a bit of second-guessing.

My schizophrenic character, Justin, is an incredibly talented painter, and The Other Place Series are magical realism books. Justin’s artistic career takes off way more quickly than artistic careers generally do in real life. Also, his connection with one of the other characters is close almost to the point of telepathy at times. People could definitely interpret the sort of “magical” world in my novels as me trying to say that neurodiverse people are somehow magical.

The reason I wrote the novels this way is twofold: it’s a compelling way of telling the story and presenting the concepts I’m trying to illuminate clearly. If I had written the books in a more realistic manner, readers might see only Justin’s struggles, and none of the beauty, magic, and mystery of his world. Because, and this is the other reason I wrote the books as magical realism: I think a sort of magic actually does exist in the world. I know, I know: I’m prone to psychosis, but hear me out.

These books were how I processed and explored the fact that I’ve seen some fairly bizarre shit in my life, and I believe that, at least in some cases and in some ways, neurodiverse people’s inability to relate to “mainstream” society helps them to see the world more clearly, and tap into something unexplainable. It’s an old concept, but I think I have a unique perspective, and that’s one of the reasons why I wrote these books. I just have to be sure I handle the subject with enough skill so that I don’t reinforce negative or false assumptions by non-psychotic people.

How do I keep readers from misinterpreting what I’m trying to say, though? The simple answer is, I can’t. No matter how careful I am, I’m always going to have people who don’t “get” what I’m trying to communicate. The same is true for all of us. And the more important your message, the more risk you’ll run of igniting an emotional response in your readers, positive or negative

That isn’t to say that we should throw all caution to the wind and ignore political concerns when we write, but I think having those concerns front-and-center in your writing, and self-censoring, can actually be counterproductive. Censored and overly-cautious writing sometimes isn’t very compelling, and often the only people who will read it are other advocates for the diverse community. At the very least, I don’t feel it’s the way I can best get my point across. Others will feel differently, and so I’ll leave the other methods to them.

My personal technique is to not self-censor or be concerned with political issues at all during my first draft. Since I’m never sure what my underlying message is going to be until I’m done with the book anyway, it’s not difficult for me. When the first draft is done, I’ll examine the beliefs and messages presented in the book (not the characters and concepts themselves) from many different angles, so I can anticipate people’s arguments and misinterpretations. When I’ve made sure my reasoning is sound, I’ll try to make sure my concepts are presented as clearly as possible by subtle tweaking in revisions, without censoring my characters or voice. If my opinions and viewpoints are well-reasoned and come from experience, it won’t keep the critics from hounding me, but I’ll be able to answer them with my chin high.

The long and the short of it is, we have to understand our characters and our stories, and we have to show readers their beauty and truth so they understand them, as well. We won’t always be successful, and we will likely endure criticism, but if what we have to say is important enough to us we’ll persevere anyway. That’s pretty much what making art is all about, in the first place.

*Note to readers: If you are a non-diverse person thinking about writing from a diverse perspective, you might want to check out my piece https://elizabethroderick.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/we-need-diverse-books-writing-what-you-dont-know/ Also, if you are writing a book from the point of view of a non-diverse character whose goal is to somehow “save” a diverse character from themselves or their situation, or if the main plot of the book is that non-diverse character’s “coming to terms” with another character’s diversity, I’m going to write a whole different blog post on that, and there are plenty others already written, which you should search for.*

Nighthawks

▬▬ COVER REVEAL ▬▬
NIGHTHAWKS by Jeremy Flagg
Children of Nostradamus, Book 1 
Releasing March 1st from Limitless Publishing! 
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Design
▬▬ SYNOPSIS ▬▬
Twenty-six-year-old painter Conthan Cowan takes art to a shocking frontier…
His debut exhibit features the transformation of his high school friend, Sarah, as she went from a shy, soft-spoken girl to a Child of Nostradamus—an individual gifted with extraordinary abilities. Living in a society where the Children of Nostradamus are captured by the government, Conthan’s exhibit draws attention from officials and protesters alike.
A government psychic may be dead, but that doesn’t stop her from manipulating the future…
The deceased White House aide is only remembered for her failed assassination attempt on the president decades before Conthan was born. Foreseeing her own death, she scribed letters to bring together specific Children of Nostradamus on a mission that will change the world.
On the night of the gallery exhibition, Conthan receives one of those letters…
Whispers from the past direct him to visit Sarah, the subject of his paintings, who like many Children of Nostradamus, is being detained in a government research facility. It’s there he finds himself aligned with a rogue group of Children on a mission to prevent a dark future.
As a dark future unfolds, there’s only one hope to stop the destruction of the world…
The Children of Nostradamus.
▬▬ JEREMY FLAGG ▬▬
I’m high school graphic design and marketing teacher, at a large suburban high school in Massachusetts. Working as a high school educator and observing the outlandish world of adolescence was the inspiration for my first young adult novel, “Suburban Zombie High.”
My inspiration for writing stems from being a youth who struggled with reading in school. While I found school assigned novels incredibly difficult to digest, I devoured comics and later fantasy novels. Their influences can be seen in the tall tales I spin.
I took the long route to becoming a writer. For a brief time, I majored in Creative Writing but exchanged one passion for another as I switched to Art and Design. My passion for reading about superheroes, fantastical worlds, and panic-stricken situations would become the foundation of my writing career.
I participated in my first NaNoWriMo in 2006 and continue to write an entire novel every November. Now I am the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison to the Massachusetts Metrowest Region. I also belong to a weekly writing group, the Metrowest Writers.

Copper Lilies

“A beautifully written reminder that draws attention to a chronic disease that still needs to be fought on the front lines as stigma/judgment remain.” 
– Amy Nelson, MPH, CHES
 
COPPER LILIES by Bradon Nave is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

|| COPPER LILIES by Bradon Nave ||

In 1986, twenty-three-year-old country girl Nora Brown decides it’s time for a change…
Complacent and bored with her life in rural Oklahoma, Nora leaves her bigoted father and all she’s ever known to pursue a new life in San Francisco. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Nora, a registered nurse, believes she can be an asset to the community. Bunking in a tiny apartment with a longtime friend, Nora secures a job within a large hospital and begins volunteer work for an organization that cares for those afflicted with the disease.
She is soon faced with the horrors of AIDS—a reality she wasn’t quite prepared for…
Just as the courageous group of caregivers and volunteers have their emotional strength depleted to the point of no return, the group rallies together and pushes forward, remembering their mission—if they aren’t there for these people, who will be?
Nora wasn’t expecting to find him here, to “fall in love among the ashes…”
Along her journey, she meets a diverse community of lionhearted survivors. And then there’s Donald, another volunteer who fights alongside those with dwindling hope. Nora and Donald grow closer as the war on HIV rages around them.
They watch their friends waste to nothing, yet no answers are being offered. The only comfort is the solace they find in each other. After months of hardships, another crippling loss shakes the foundation of Nora’s faith.
Their struggle is not only about HIV/AIDS—but about how the nation responds, and the humanistic choice to be unsung heroes.

== PURCHASE ==

KINDLE UNLIMITED: http://amzn.to/1T1oq7X

PAPERBACK: http://amzn.to/1XeuWsL

 

= MEET BRADON NAVE =
Bradon Nave was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. He attended a small country school during junior high and high school, and graduated with only three people in his class. After graduate school, he decided to devote his spare time to his passion of writing.Bradon currently lives in Piedmont, Oklahoma, with his wife and two young children.
When he’s not writing, he loves running, being with friends and family, and being outdoors.

 

Lives We Forget

 
°°° COVER REVEAL °°°
LINES WE FORGET by J.E. Warren 
Cover Designer: J.E. Warren
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 8, 2016
°° SYNOPSIS °°
Love almost never comes easy, especially to
those who aren’t prepared for it…
Twenty-four-year-old
musician and part-time busker Charlie Stone has always played the
classics. 
It’s
just another day of playing the same old songs from his well-worn repertoire
when he notices her—Anna Garrett, a beauty with cold-bitten, rosy cheeks, and a
coffee cup clutched in her hands.
Five
songs later, and she’s still standing there. He vows to steal her attention,
and her heart, the only way he knows how—through the power of music.
In the heart of London’s cold, rain-soaked
streets, chance encounters are far and few between, but a warm melody can bring
people together…
New day. Same
old disappointments. Mark didn’t show up to their second date, and twenty-two-year-old
Anna Garrett believes her luck at finding love has stalled before it’s even
started.
But when she
sees a handsome busker, playing his heart out to a captivating classic,
everything changes. Memories come flooding back.  And as she listens, Anna soon realises that she
must take matters of love and luck into her own hands.
When opposites attract, sparks fly…
After a series
of wonderful, unconventional dates, feisty Anna and hopeless romantic Charlie
soon declare their love for each other. But their newfound romance is rocked to
its core by a New Year’s Eve party gone awry that threatens to throw them off
course.
But love was never meant to be easy…
With a reinforced
bond that seems too strong to break, both continue to fall deeper in love. But
when Anna loses her job, and distance comes between them, the real work begins.
Will their love be a one-hit wonder, or a timeless
classic?
°° J.E. WARREN °°
J.E.Warren currently resides in a somewhat sleepy seaside town, and is a British Romance/YA writer who has a long standing love for milky tea, travel, shaggy haired 90’s band Hanson, and small dogs.
Always observing, she enjoys writing and bringing to life realistic and relatable characters, especially strong, sharp and savvy females who aren’t afraid to speak their mind.
Music has always played a big part in her life – from noisy rock to reggae, folk to pop punk and everything in else between. And is a constant source of inspiration when writing, especially when plotting new ways to steal reader’s hearts, or make them swoon (usually with the help of guitar playing heartthrobs.)
When she’s not writing, J.E likes to curate perfect play lists – of which she has many, and catch up on her favourite shows (again too many), though you can be certain to find Buffy The Vampire Slayer on heavy rotation.