Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace
Author: Ellen Byerrum
Series: N/A
Pages: 361
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Lethal Black Dress Press
Format: Kindle
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me! 

After a devastating accident, a young woman finds herself in a private memory research facility, struggling to recover her mind and her identity. Her eyes are brown; her memories are broken. The accident, her fiancée, her recent past, years of her life: all are a blank. Yet somehow she remembers being two very different women. Which is real? Is she Tennyson or Marissa? Or neither one? And if she can’t trust her memories, her doctors, or her own eyes, who can she trust? 

To save her sanity, she begins writing a secret journal between the lines of a forgotten copy of Homer’s Odyssey. To save her life, she must begin her own harrowing odyssey, into secrets, madness and murder. But lost among her shattered memories, can she find her true self?
~Big Writing Tricks and Butt Glue~
How many times have I heard people say, “I’d write a book if only I could just sit down and do it”? What they really mean is, how do you find the time to write? That’s difficult, but there are a few tricks.

Time is not found, it’s made. If you really want to write, sit down and write! Not that there’s anything magical about sitting. It does not in and of itself imbue creativity, but the number one trick to starting and finishing a book is “butt glue.” Just glue your butt to your seat and keep writing. That’s harder than it sounds, though. Whether you sit or stand or even lie down to write, you generally have to keep at it in the same position, fingers on the keyboard, for the time it takes to write the book. For weeks and months, even years. But you’re busy, you’re distracted, life gets in the way, and you’re not always in the mood, are you? When I’m not in the mood to write, I have certain methods of tricking myself into writing.

It sounds silly to say that I like to take showers when the muse has fled the premises and the piece of paper or digital page in front of me is as blank as my brain. But there you have it: Showering is one of the ways I get the writing juices flowing again, particularly when facing a deadline. If I can’t be inspired, at least I can be clean.

Writing can happen everywhere and anywhere, as long as you can somehow keep those words, or characters, or dialogue, or plot points in your brain until you write it down physically. I sometimes have to grab a towel and race from the shower to my computer before the words evaporate like the steam on the mirror. I’ve awakened in the middle of the night to jot down urgent ideas on magazines in the dark, hoping I’ll be able to read them in the morning. I’ve used paper napkins in restaurants for penning the odd line of overheard dialogue. I’ve written murder scenes on the backs of pages of prepared statements at congressional hearings.

We’re awfully fond of the image of the writer at a desk, back straight, intent clear, fingers flying as if plugged into a hotline to divine inspiration and taking psychic dictation. Or possibly scribbling words into a journal in a bohemian café, looking terribly louche and intellectual, with a cup of espresso or a glass of wine within arm’s reach. Well, that might work occasionally. For someone, somewhere. It sounds like fun. I’ll have the house Chianti.

The most important thing when your goal is accomplishing a book is to keep at it until you finish it and not to let life get in the way. When I was working a full-time job as a journalist in Washington, D.C. and writing my first mystery, I realized a few things: 
  • If I went home after an exhausting day, I was likely to fall into bed and take a nap and accomplish nothing, 
  • Life is easier with someone else cleaning the house and taking the burden off you so you have no excuse not to write, and 
  • I had to trick myself into finding the time. 
I hired someone to clean the apartment every two weeks and I tried never to go directly home. I stopped at the library, or a bookstore, or a coffee shop, and wrote for a couple of hours before I could think about how tired I was. I enjoyed the freeing feeling of pen on paper and could later type it up without straining my brain.

Although it’s difficult to write after a day slinging words on paper as a reporter, I had the advantage of working for a publishing company that demanded “just the facts” and would cut adjectives and adverbs in the blink of an eye. At the end of the day I had lots of words left over for my fiction. The difference between fact and fiction was strictly right brain-left brain.

Nobody has the time. You have to make the time. This is simply the way I do it, but I’m always happy to hear of other ways to approach the issue. If you want to share your pet methods, leave me a message. I’ll be in the shower.
~Try an Excerpt!~
In my memories, my eyes are always green.

As green as the dark and dangerous sea, my grandfather used to say. Mermaid’s eyes, he called them. Eyes that changed, from the color of seaweed, to sea glass, to the green of troubled water. Yet I was never troubled, when my eyes were green.

There are huge gaps of time, years, when I don’t remember anything about my life. Still, I am quite convinced that my eyes were always green.

Even in my double memories, they are green. Even though I seem to remember being two people, they are green. It doesn’t matter if I recall being a child with blond streaks in my braids, collecting shells with my grandfather at the stony edge of the sea, or if I think I was a dark-haired girl riding a new pony, under the watchful eye of my pretty mother. My eyes are always green.

These days the mirror tells me my eyes are not green. They are brown. As brown as leaves that die in the fall.

I’m writing down these words because I don’t know if tomorrow I will remember what I know today. I have too many memories. Like the memory of my eyes. But I also have memory losses. Great chunks of time are missing. Frankly, I’m terrified of losing more pieces of myself, no matter how small.

“Green eyes are a false memory, Tennyson,” according to Dr. Embry. “You never had green eyes.” 
~Meet Ellen!~ 
Ellen Byerrum is a novelist, playwright, reporter, former Washington D.C. journalist, and a graduate of private investigator school in Virginia. The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace is her first suspense thriller, which introduces Tennyson Claxton, a woman with two sets of memories from two very different women.

Ellen also writes the Crime of Fashion mysteries, which star a savvy, stylish female sleuth named Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington D.C. ("The City Fashion Forgot").Two of the COF books,Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, were filmed for the Lifetime Movie Network and can occasionally be seen on odd dates and odd times in the middle of the night. The latest book in that series is Lethal Black Dress, but there will be more to come.

Shehas also penned a middle grade mystery, The Children Didn’t See Anything.She occasionally writes a newsletter that contains her latest publishinginformation.

 Ellen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Thank you so much for letting me visit today, Andra. I'll come back later and answer any questions people might have.

  2. The time is there you just have to use it wisely. Great post thank you.

  3. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

  4. I'm very fond of Irish, Scottish, and French. Spanish and Italian are beautiful, and I love accents from Island like Jamaica. But I'm always interested in hearing others as well.

  5. Great excerpt, thank you for the giveaway!

  6. I enjoyed the post and the excerpt, this sounds like a book I can sink my teeth into. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Well done, Ellen. Can't wait to read your book!
    Darla Bartos

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  9. this sounds awesome! I can't wait to read this - thanks for sharing :)

  10. Congratulations on your new adventure---I can't wait to read it ;-)


  11. "I enjoyed the freeing feeling of pen on paper and could later type it up without straining my brain." That's how I feel about writing poetry. The words flow onto paper easier than onto the computer. Mind you, I enjoy having the Internet at my fingertips to help clarify things (so much faster than using my printed thesaurus), and it IS faster to type than to write, but it depends where my brain is focusing, and usually that is on a piece of paper instead.

    Thanks for sharing all your methods of staying focused. I excel at procrastinating. Just think - I should be doing paid work right now (I work from home), but here I am blogging with you! Prime example ... now I'm back to work.

    Have a great week!

  12. My interest has been caught! I can't wait to read more. Thank you.

  13. This book sounds like something I'd really enjoy reading!

  14. Awesome excerpt! I can't wait to read this book. Thank you for the $25 Amazon GC Giveaway.

  15. I am so excited about this new book. I must say that Ellen is a very pretty woman.

  16. I really enjoy your books. I am looking forward to reading this book.