It’s a thrill to welcome my colleague Elizabeth Rose to my blog. We’ve worked together on three collections, When Knights Were Bold, Mystical Enchantment, and Sirens of the Northern Seas.
Thanks for inviting me to be your guest today, Anna. I am very happy to be here.
Anna: Where were you born, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: I was born in the suburbs of Chicago and still reside there.
Anna: What do you like most about where you live now?
Elizabeth: Actually, believe it or not, I’m not a city girl. I prefer somewhere not so crowded, and I actually like warmer weather. (Maybe a move is in order?)
Anna: What’s your favorite season?
Elizabeth: I know I just said I liked warmer weather, but autumn is really my favorite season, because I love all the colors. (I’m an artist and love the beauty of the leaves changing.)
Anna: Any school/high school/college memories you’d like to share?
Elizabeth: My love of writing probably started back in high school. My friends and I would write stories, then pass them back and forth in the hallways between classes, reading and writing comments on the stories instead of paying attention in class. (Ooops. Don’t worry, I was still a good student with awesome grades – not sure how I pulled that off.)
Anna: Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?
Elizabeth: My parents. They are getting up in years and are more active than I am! It is amazing how hard they’ve worked their entire lives, and are not afraid of doing anything, no matter how hard the task. They are truly inspiring.
Anna: What is the worst job you ever had?
Elizabeth: I’ve worked in restaurants for a good part of my life, waitressing as well as managing and have seen a lot of things and dealt with a lot of different personalities. I’m not saying it was a bad job – it’s just that in the restaurant industry you don’t get a whole lot of respect. I am so grateful that I now know so many wonderful authors who are uplifting and encouraging, instead of bringing me down. So let’s turn this around – writing and living the life of an author is the BEST job I’ve ever had.
Anna: Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?
Elizabeth: I was a freelance artist for many years which I enjoyed, but the oddest job I’ve ever had was being an assistant to a magician. (Yes, I was cut in half!)
Anna: Do you have any hobbies?
Elizabeth: I love to garden and have a pretty nice herb garden. I love using fresh herbs in the summer – and though I hate to cook, I do love to grill. Try to figure that one out.
Anna: What is your feeling about social media?
Elizabeth: I love social media. Especially facebook. It is so rewarding to have friends and fans all over the world. I’ve had people from my school years connect with me again, and even had a pen-pal from Peru (when I was in high school) find me after we hadn’t corresponded in many, many years.
Anna: Tell us something you are really proud of.
Elizabeth: I have passion. When I decide I’m going to do something – watch out. I’ll put in two hundred percent and work day and night with little rest because I am determined to meet my goal. For example – I’ve only been Indie published for 3 years and am currently writing my 50th book (I did have some backstock, as I’d taken a 10 year break with no writing to go back to working elsewhere.) I decided I wanted to create my own bookcovers, and my boys laughed at me since I didn’t even know how to turn off my computer. (I kid you not. But in my defense, it was a new computer and I just left it on all the time.) That spurred me on when they said I couldn’t do it. So, I taught myself how to work with photoshop and have created all my own covers to date. I also went on to build my own website, publish ebooks, print books, and audiobooks. Another accomplishment and something I was told I could not do was to create my own booktrailers. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something. We all can do anything we put our mind to – so JUST DO IT.
Anna: And your covers are stunning. Can you confide something you wish you were better at?
Elizabeth: Organization. My desk is always a mess and to add to this, I’m not a very domestic person. Then again, neither do I want to be. I’m more career oriented.
Anna: What’s your pet peeve?
Elizabeth: Ok, these are probably more like OCD things rather than pet peeves, but I just shiver when people crunch plastic – like from a potato chip bag or anything wrapped in cellophane. I hate the noise it makes. I also don’t like anything put in front of the windows inside my house. I like it clear so I can just walk up and open the blinds without having to reach over things. Weird – I know.
Anna: Do you like animals?
Elizabeth: I haven’t had a pet in years because it was too hard when I had to put my dog down and I don’t ever want to go through that again.
Anna: What do you enjoy most/least about being a published author?
Elizabeth: I like the fact that I am my own boss and don’t have to answer to anyone. (That’s the Aries in me coming out I guess.) I don’t have anyone holding me back. I am a fast writer, and normally publish a book a month. It’s nice not having to answer to a publisher and have to change things that I write, or wait for a year to be released, or even get a cover that looks nothing like my characters. I actually make my covers first, and write the story around those characters and even what they are wearing. In my pirate novel, Lady of the Mist, you’ll see a large, round, ornate necklace on her. I’ve written it into the story and it plays a major part. I love making my characters come to life by making sure the cover matches who and what is in the book.
Anna: Interesting. I’m an Aries too. How do you deal with writer’s block? Elizabeth:It’s not good to wait too long in between books, because the longer one is away from writing, the harder it is to get back into it. If I do get writer’s block, I go for a walk and talk to my characters – aloud. (Yes, I’ve gotten some odd looks from people as I’ve talked to myself.) But by doing this, my characters tell me what to write. They help me to work things out, and I’ve discovered some interesting backgrounds and plot twists this way – and it all came from my characters talking to me.
Anna: To what do you attribute your success as a writer?
Elizabeth: Passion, hard work, determination, and lack of fear. The fearless succeed. Sometimes it’s hard when a writer gets a nasty review (not sure why anyone would do this in the first place) but you have to just shake it off, pick yourself up and get back on the horse. Don’t let anyone bring you down or put doubt in your head about what you love doing. Believe in yourself and you will succeed, no matter what happens.
Anna: Well said. Where do you find inspiration for your stories? Elizabeth: Everywhere and anywhere. It could be from a person I see in a grocery store to something I’ve watched on TV, or even my own family and friends. A lot of times, I put my own experiences into my books. Actually, my small town contemporary series, Tarnished Saints takes place on a lake in Michigan. It is based on where my folks live, and everything I describe is what is really there. There is a Bed and Breakfast in Doubting Thomas, Book 1, that is really my parent’s house. And the old couple that run it – well, let’s just say you’ll find a lot of my parents’ traits in them. Smile.
Anna: Tell us about your latest release.
Elizabeth: I just released my 49th book, The Baron’s Destiny. This is the third and final book in my Barons of the Cinque Ports Series. John Montague is a rich baron in charge of the port of Hastings. One day while he’s across the channel in France, he finds himself shot in the shoulder with an arrow and dangling off the edge of a cliff. The only one who can help him is – lo and behold – his ex-wife, thought to be a witch, who is standing above him with a bow and arrows in her hand.
This series, to me, offers something you will not find in other romances. Or at least, I haven’t. No one I have ever asked knows what the Cinque Ports are. Actually, I didn’t either until I discovered it one day and started researching. I like to not only entertain others with my stories, but I like them to walk away feeling as if they’ve learned something as well. I usually try to also include holidays in my books, and it is interesting how some of our holiday traditions started back in medieval times. For example, in Ian, Book 3 of my MadMan MacKeefe Series incorporates the pagan traditions that we still use at Halloween.
I also like to take something that happened in history, and put a twist on it. In the Baron’s Bounty – Book 2, my heroine is Scottish and has a love of shoes. You’ll learn about medieval shoes in this book. The Scottish king has also ended up dead over the side of a cliff. I thought – what if it was really a murder and no one knew it? So in my book, he was murdered, and my heroine has seen only the feet of the murderer as she hides behind a bush. But she’s learned to identify people and status by the shoes people wear and the way they walk. So she solves a murder by having seen the feet only of the killer.
Anna: Do you enjoy writing series?
Elizabeth: I love writing series, and most my books are series. Some series even overlap into others. For instance, Onyx – Book 1 of my MadMan MacKeefe Series is the brother thought to be dead from my Daughters of the Dagger Series.
Here is a list of my series:
Barons of the Cinque Ports Series
Legacy of the Blade Series
Daughters of the Dagger Series
Tangled Tales Series
Cowboys of the Old West Series
Tarnished Saints Series
Gnarled Nursery Rhymes Series
Greek Myth Fantasy Series
I do have some stand alone books and short stories as well, and have another medieval series planned for the end of 2016. All my books are available in print, and now I have started putting them into audiobook form as well.
Buy links: (All of my books are exclusive to Amazon, and can be read free through their Kindle Unlimited Program.)
Barons of the Cinque Ports:
Hanging off the side of a cliff by one arm, watching as the horse that had thrown him ran off through the forest, John Montague was sure this would be the way he died.
If he had any doubt in his mind, the crash of thunder reverberating in his ears, the flashes of lightning across the nighttime sky, and the torrential downpour only reinforced the fact that this was the last nail in his coffin.
“God’s eyes, why a storm?” he growled, trying to grab with both hands for the vine that held him, but couldn’t. His horse had become spooked at the nearby strike of lightning and thrown him just as he’d seen a man on the road in front of him.
His head had hit against the rocks and was bleeding and he could barely move his arm because of the pain from the arrow sticking out of his flesh. Blood trickled down his forehead getting into his eyes, and lodging its coppery taste upon his lips. He should have stayed with the others at King Edward’s side in Paris for another hour, or at least waited for his squire to accompany him instead of venturing out on his own. But when he’d seen the storm coming he’d panicked, and felt the need to get back to his ship without delay.
His fleet of ships was scheduled to leave France tonight since the men had served their required fourteen days service to their king. King Edward had spent the summer in Paris, and had not stepped foot on English soil in so long now that it was starting to become a problem back home. John had brought the king’s reinforcements to France, as well as the supplies his sovereign had requested from England. The trading had taken place once they’d docked on the French coast, and they’d be leaving the coveted high quality English wool behind, taking back with them fine French wine in its place.
“Arrrrgh,” he shouted, his fingers slipping on the wet vine as he wondered whom the person was who’d dared to jump out on the road threatening him with a bow and arrow and causing this inconvenience in the first place. The knave had the nerve to threaten an armed baron on horseback, and John still couldn’t believe he’d actually taken an arrow to the shoulder. If his horse hadn’t reared up and thrown him, he would have struck the man down with his sword. If he ever got his hands on the hooded man, there would be hell to pay.
He dared to look down to his feet dangling like a rag doll beneath him and wished he hadn’t. The stormy sea swirled and waves swelled up far below, threatening to drown him. The sharp rocks on the way down would most likely crack his skull open before he even hit the water. Being a baron of the coast in Hastings, he should be used to any kind of weather, but his nightmares made him seem like a coward every time a storm hit even though he was really a very brave man.
Visions of his recurring nightmare swarmed in his head. It was the fear of that awful dream he’d been having for the last fourteen years that had more than once made him think he’d gone mad. No twenty-eight-year-old baron of the Cinque Ports should be crying out in his sleep like a scared child. Tongues were already wagging about him back home, and his own friends – the other barons of the Cinque Ports, ridiculed him constantly about his frightening nightmare.