Let’s Keep in Touch


You may have noticed that my blogs have been rather sparse over the last several months. In 2016, I’m aiming to make up for it with a new, more personal way to connect with you, my readers.

We started a beta run of my newsletter in November, and the response has been incredible. My newsletters are much like an interactive version of my blog. It features a letter reminiscent of my past blogs, excerpts my writing projects, exclusive deals and discounts on new merchandise, and much more!

Best of all, you can reply directly to me. I receive every e-mail in my personal inbox and do my best to respond to them every month.

So let’s be PenPals! Simply go to: http://eepurl.com/bCik81 (yes, the link is safe) and fill out the form to sign up. January’s newsletter goes out Monday, January 4th.

I hope you all are having an amazing start to the New Year and I look forward to keeping in touch with you all in 2016!

-Elli

Now Available for Pre-Order: Chivalry’s Code


CC_CROP_coverSince Elizabeth Carlton released The Royal Rogue in October 2012, fans have pined for the return of Jaycent Connor and his snarky alias,  Jaspur. Now everyone’s favorite rogue returns in an action-filled, emotional continuation titled Chivalry’s Code. The author is holding a digital book signing through GoFundMe between now and October 30th where fans can choose from different signed book and bundle options.

“Chivalry’s Code has spent a long time in development, but it’s been worth it,” Carlton said. “This book exceeded my own expectations and I am excited to share it with readers, old and new. Between the pages are several surprises that will have fans gasping out loud. I can’t wait to hear what they think.”

Editors and beta-readers are already raving about her newest book, claiming that Chivalry’s Code is, “Exhilarating,” “Heart wrenching,” and “Hands down, the best story Elizabeth’s ever written.”

Click here to Pre-Order your copy today. Pre-orders will close on October 30th. All  signed copies will be mailed via USPS by no later than November 15th.

What It Means to Remember


911_AnniversaryToday we remember the dark deeds that rocked a nation. We look at one another and say, “Never Forget.” We repeat it like a strange and haunting mantra, though there’s a place deep within our hearts where we know no words could truly encompass that unfathomable day.

It’s 10:00AM, and I’ve already spoken to many people about September 11. I’ve heard stories in great detail as friends recall where they were, how they heard about the first plane, then the second, and what happened next. There’s a strange look in their eyes as they recall the moment they realized planes struck the trade centers, and it wasn’t an accident.

“We were under attack.”

It’s still a breathless sentence. It still feels surreal. Yet there are children today for whom this moment is a page in a textbook. Children who were either too young to remember, or were born after this tragedy struck. For this reason, I believe that our mantra, “Never Forget,” holds more significance now than it did before.

I hope that you take time to tell your story today. I hope you share your account of this day to someone who doesn’t remember or wasn’t alive to remember September 11, 2001. I hope that when you tell your story, you know refusing to forget isn’t the same as being stuck in that moment. It is important that the gravity of history lives on, and that coming generations learn from our own experiences.

And may you not remain paralyzed by the past. May we all move forward with hearts both heavy and light, aware of the darkest moments of humanity, and believing that we’re so much more than that.

This is a hard day for many. To those who still feel the pain of this day, know that you are not alone. Reach out to someone you know. Tell your story. Share those feelings, and believe that in spite of our imperfections we are still one nation, united in each other.

Elizabeth Talks About Her Next Book and How It Differs from The Royal Rogue


CC RM QuoteWe’re weeks away from the launch of Elizabeth’s second book, Chivalry’s Code. It’s the second installment in the Rogue trilogy, and the expectation is incredibly high.

Chivalry’s Code will release October 30, 2015; exactly three years after the release of its predecessor, The Royal Rogue. The book was said to be a challenge to write. Elizabeth scrapped two full manuscripts before she and her editor finally settled on what is now considered the final product.

Will the final product meet her reader’s expectations? Elizabeth seems to believe so. In fact, she claims it will exceed them. Recently, the author took the time to sit down and answer some of the many questions surrounding her upcoming novel.

The Royal Rogue told the story of how Prince Jaycent became “Jaspur,” a royal rogue. Where does Chivalry’s Code pick up in relation to where the first book left off, and what is it about?

E: Chivalry’s Code takes place eighteen years after The Royal Rogue ended. Jaspur has fully accepted his rogue alter-ego, abandoning all that he was to embrace a much darker, vengeful side of himself. Tobiano has taught him to hone his gifts. Too well, it seems, as he starts to deviate more and more from the instruction of his mentor and the head of the legendary re’shahna tribe, Patchi.

But Jaspur’s not the only one who has changed. All of the characters who carried over from the first book have grown and evolved. Some for the better; some less so. Levee rejoined a band of gypsies who fled to Sarrokye after Prince Jaycent’s kingdom was conquered, developing her own gift to the point where she is now one of the most powerful characters in the book. She isn’t the young, naive girl from The Royal Rogue any longer. She is confident, powerful, and determined to do what it takes to protect her family and her people.

And then there’s Rayhan…

CC JC RethinkYes, about that. How exactly is he involved?

I received several questions as to how he came to find his way into the second book. What made Chivalry’s Code such a challenge is that it’s actually two different stories taking place in separate time periods but are being told at the same time. It wasn’t easy to do, but it all came together phenomenally well in the end. My editor and I are extremely impressed on how beautifully the two stories coalesced.

Earlier, when you mentioned Levee, you said something about “family.” Who exactly are you speaking of?

E: Readers of the first book will recall that Levee didn’t flee the north alone. Milo went with her.

So by family you mean in a brotherly sense… or did something happen between them?

E: Eighteen years is a long time. A lot can happen, and a lot did. That’s all I will say. You’ll have to pick up the book to find out the rest.

CC Rayhan Wisdom Second ChancesIn this second book, readers get to see more of the legendary re’shahna, including traditions and styles that seem to echo tribal cultures.

E: The re’shahna are tribal in nature, but they do not take after any particular culture. Any similarities are either subconscious or coincidental, not intentional. The re’shahna are simply deeply spiritual people whose lives revolve around their connection with equines. They consider the horses and unicorns their kin, and their goddess (Tennakawa) the spirit that connects them to each other. That’s why their hairstyles emulate a horse’s mane, and why they tend to move from place to place as a “herd.” These are subtle nuances in their behavior that connect them to their equine cousins.

Do you think this book will be better than the first?

Absolutely. Not to say that The Royal Rogue was bad or even mediocre, but naturally the more someone writes, the better they get. This book has more high-intensity moments and battle scenes that will leave you gripping the pages in suspense. There’s a lot of conflict, and with it several ultimatums that force the characters to really stand by their convictions and know who they are and what they stand for as they make difficult decisions.

But more than that, this book is personal. Jaspur’s struggles in Chivalry’s Code resonated with me on a very intimate level; moreso than I had planned or anticipated. In a way, I found his trials to be therapeutic. I learned a few lessons in life alongside him that I didn’t expect, and I’m really proud of the person he became in the end.

Will you be doing any book signings or events when the book releases?

Yes! The first event will be in Denver, North Carolina on November 8th, but I have an exciting plan lined up for Florida and hopefully a few conventions that will involve the characters… coming to life, so to speak.

Are you saying we’ll get to meet the characters?

There’s a very real possibility that a rogue might be present at more than a few events.

Keep in touch with Elizabeth and be the first to hear about the release of Chivalry’s Code by “Liking” her author page on Facebook.

.

Katniss is Real, and She’s Apache


apache ny

Naelyn Pike raises awareness in NYC. (Photo Credit: Standing Fox)

This is a call to action. A plea for you to take five minutes to do something that actually matters today. This is a demand to remember that silence is as devastating as the wrong that led to an Australian-British mining company having the rights to mine without oversight, leaving a scar on our land in the form of a 2-mile crater.

We have Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake to thank for this. They tucked the deal within the fine print of a military defense spending bill (read more in this article from The New York Times).

  Apache have been camped out on the sacred site of Oak Flat since February. Naelyn Pike, the young warrior pictured above, traveled alongside a handful of others from Arizona to NYC to try to bring attention to this plight.

This isn’t “just a Native American” thing. This is an American thing. This is protecting our land while taking a stand and saying men like McCain and Flake can’t use the powers we gave them to their own gain through manipulative actions such as this.

Sign the petition. Donate if you can. Let it be known that the American people won’t stand for this betrayal.

Sign the petition here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_the_apache_global_loc_dn/?auqZUf

Home.


11698895_799182386847309_2658753924542795805_nWhat is home?

Home is your dad teaching you how to shoot marbles off a back porch with a slingshot.

Home is coffee with your brother as he tells you stories about adapting to civilian life and med school.

Home is dancing with your husky in front of the door while you try to explain to him dogs don’t live in the house…

only to end with him sitting inside the door, and you somehow on the porch.

Home is walking into a church building where arms and smiles greet you, and the people know your name.

11659233_798422356923312_7084290248284893299_nHome is asking “How are you?” and genuinely wanting to know the answer.

Home is the joy of an older couple who watches everyone in the room wanting to talk to you, only to have you choose to sit and talk with them.

Home is getting eaten by mosquitoes because your dog wants to take the long route home on his walk, and not caring that you’ll itch for the next three days because his joy is your joy.

Home is the way your dad walks beside you, his arm around your shoulders, and knowing that you’re loved.

Home is talking with your sister-in-law about life and work, and knowing that the “in-law” part is irrelevant, because she is simply family.

11057800_799355050163376_4391413679568426477_nHome is hiking up a mountain and staring at the same waterfall you did last year, and knowing it will never get old.

Home is the heartbreak of loss when it strikes so suddenly, and sharing that pain with one another as you move forward.

Home is feeling so very whole when you’re there,

And part empty when you leave.

It feels and looks and sounds like this.

Home reminds you of who you are;

of who you belong to;

of where you come from;

of where you should be going.

My family is my home, and my home cannot be replaced.

Liebster Award QnA


11109810_789370744495140_8174114486834603347_nQ: What is your best time of day (or night) to write?
I wish there was some sort of magic hour where my muse was most active. Because my schedule varies every single day, I simply write when I can. Some days it’s over morning coffee. Other days, I’m typing away at 11:00PM at night under the dim light of my laptop. One thing that remains consistent though is my muse’s habit of arriving at untimely moments.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a meeting or out on a date only to find myself scribbling notes on a napkin or typing them into my phone.

Q: How do you find inspiration for new characters?
At this point in my writing, character inspiration comes from the storyline.

My main characters like Jaycent, Milo, Levee, Tobiano and Arelee have been around for over a decade. They have evolved into personalities with extensive backstories capable of innumerable individual stories.

Therefore, my new characters tend to be secondaries. Those I create for a specific purpose, and I build their personality around what they are meant to accomplish.

Q: What was your first story idea (that you remember)? Did you write it?
My first real story idea was an original online fiction story I wrote when I was 13 or 14 years old. It’s still floating around somewhere in the vast realm of the world wide web. I won’t disclose its name (if you manage to find it on your own, you win the right to laugh at my expense).

I completed that story in about a year’s span, then forgot about it until my senior year of college when I started receiving positive reviews on it via e-mail. At that point, I went back and re-read the story only to be terribly embarrassed. It sounded like a 14 year old wrote it (go figure, right?). But I thought to myself, if people enjoyed this story… what would happen if I rewrote it as an adult?

That gave birth to a new book. One my readers know as The Royal Rogue.

Q: Average word-count per hour of writing?

If only it was that simple! Some days, I can write 2,000 words an hour. Others I’m lucky to write 25. It just depends on how cooperative my muse and my characters are feeling that day.

Jaycent in particular is a sassy character. There are days when his dialogue is nothing more than one sarcastic line after the other until I finally decide to walk away and revisit the scene later.

Q: Do you write indoors or outdoors? Both?
Indoors. Outdoors. In a car. On a bridge. With the dog. On a log…Dr. Seuss aside, I write on a laptop that I carry with me 24/7 so that I can write pretty much anywhere. I tend to follow a trail of coffee, though…
Q: Least favorite genre to read/write?
I don’t think I really have a least favorite genre to read. I love a good story of any kind. However, I can’t write science fiction. I’ve tried. I made it to the second paragraph of a short story once, but I just don’t have the imagination for space, lasers, mecha, post-apocalyptic disasters or anything within the realm of a science fiction adventure.
Q: Name the top three authors/writers that have influenced the way you write.
R.A. Salvatore leads my list of favorite authors. He’s certainly been a huge influence in the way I write combat scenes.

Another author is Adele Lorienne. Specifically, her Saberondan novel. In reading Saberondan, I learned how beautiful imagery can be and how much of an impact lyrical detail can serve.

Then there’s David Gaider, the brilliant writer behind the Dragon Age series! I love the games, and so I recently started reading his books this year. He has an amazing way of engaging his characters. I’ve learned a lot in reading his book about the balance of personalities and character dynamics, and how putting the wrong personalities together can produce poor dialogue.

Q: Do you have a favorite word? What is it?
Shpadoinkle.

Q: Do you ever write by hand? Always?
I’ve been so spoiled by the speed of typing that if I try to write by hand, I can’t keep up with my thoughts. Pens are slow. Keys are fast. So am I on coffee. I almost always write under the influence of coffee.

Q: How do you look for ways to improve from one project to the next?
When I write books, I want them to feel real. I want people to feel like they know the characters like they know their best friends, so I spend a lot of time developing my characters through backstory and scenes that often never see eyes beyond my own.

I push the boundaries a lot in my descriptions, forcing myself not to fall back on reused words or phrases. I also read books by other people.

* * * * *

A special thank you to for nominating me for this Liebster Award interview. It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in one of these. The Liebster Award has been circling the blogosphere for a few years now. It has evolved a bit since the last time I’ve received this invitation. Here is how it works: 
1. Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
2. Nominate other bloggers (however many or few as you’d like).
3. Answer ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Make ten questions of your own for your nominees.
4. All nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.
My list of ten are:
Q: If you were only known for one piece you’ve written, what would it be and why?
Q: For me, writing and _____ go hand-in-hand. (What do you put in the blank?)
Q: What is the biggest misconception you’ve encountered as a writer?
Q: Why do you write?
Q: Out of all the books you’ve read, what character has stuck with you?
Q: Tell us about a book you think everyone should read at least once.
Q: What do you do when you encounter writer’s block?
Q: Do you think there’s a set formula for writing a book?
Q: How do you create a new character?
Q: Tell us about a scene that made you emotional. Why?Nominations will go out on Twitter via @WriterElli

Maybe we were made to exist in both light and shadow. Maybe that’s what living is.


I’m the girl that never stopped dreaming. The girl that fell in love with stories and never let them go.

I’m the girl that looks so young, but feels so very old inside. The one that smiles all the time because I remember the years when I couldn’t, and they remind me that every smile is a gift. To feel things, good or bad, is a gift.

I’m a light to many people, but in being a light I’ve found the brighter you shine, the darker your shadows. The truth is that I have a lot of questions, but I rarely say them out loud. Feelings are hard, but they’re harder when they’re hidden.

I’m learning how to say out loud the things that I hold inside.
The truth is that I love hard, in all the ways that love manifests. I love strangers like my friends, and friends like my family. I have a dog that loves so wholly, it sometimes makes me cry. I have a man that I love dearly.

But sometimes I detach from it all, and I don’t quite know why.

I’m the girl that people call quirky, yet they say it as a good thing. I dream between pages in worlds never walked and most days I believe that it’s something very special. I sometimes find it funny that people come to a fantasy writer for advice. I wonder what they’re thinking.

Because the truth is I’m just making it up as I go along. I have dreams and fears, and they fight like cats and dogs. Some days it all feels so heavy, but I keep believing that there’s an answer to it all. That we aren’t just broken pieces wandering without purpose.

I believe the answer is inside us all, and that when we connect with each other, we see a reflection of life’s meaning. For a split second, we’re reminded of what it means to be alive. We feel whole, and it gives us hope that maybe there’s more to life than what we think.

The longer I live, the more I believe we’re all connected in ways that are bigger than ourselves, and the more I believe that we will always exist with both the good and the bad. I sometimes wonder if that’s the whole point. That perhaps both must exist at the same time for us to truly be alive. Without the bad, there is no good. Without contrast, we merely exist.

Maybe we were made to exist in both light and shadow. Maybe that’s what living is.

Dear Self


Don’t spend your life working for someone else’s dream.

Certainly, don’t break yourself for someone else’s dream.

You’re worth more than that.

You were born for more than that.

Change is terrifying.

So are risks.

But you’re worth the risk.

Take a chance. Pursue what matters to you. Be honest with others. Be honest with yourself. Stop biting your tongue and calling it kindness. Your thoughts count. You count. Let your voice be heard. Don’t fear the man. Don’t fear what happens next.

You’re worth more than a paycheck.

In the end, life always feels too short. Don’t give it away. Don’t sit back and keep telling yourself “someday”. Don’t hesitate because you’re afraid of what others might say.

You want this life to mean something. You want your words and your actions to matter. Take a chance. Find yourself in the trying.

This life is yours.

You’ve got one shot.

Take it back.

Make it count.

You are worth it.