Title: Innocents (Dusty #1)
Author: Mary Elizabeth and Sarah Elizabeth
Release: July 14, 2014


The girl with an innocent heart knows all about bad choices, but has yet to make them for herself. Searching for freedom, she finds it in the delinquent down the hall. 

The troublemaker with summer-sky blue eyes knows he should stay away, but can’t resist the blissful wonder who makes his house a home.

She’s a hopeless romantic. He’s just hopeless.

She’s his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.

She loves him. He loves her crazy.

This is what happens when a love made of secrets is kept with rules instead of promises


Chapter Ten

Buried beneath the blankets, I press the phone to my ear. Dusty doesn’t realize I’m back on, so I listen to him smoke: light, inhale, exhale, sigh, laugh. Hearing it is almost as good as actually seeing his lips around the end of a joint.

“I’m back,” I whisper.

"Beautiful, beautiful, baby Bliss. Baby, baby Bliss." He laughs, taking a hit.

My dad’s a juvenile court judge. Our dinner table talk usually consists of him complaining about the kids he sees coming in and out of his courtroom. It’s an epidemic, he says. Children Bliss’ age using drugs. And it always ends with, Bliss, never give into peer pressure. It starts with a little grass.

Maybe it is some kind sweeping epidemic, but weed doesn’t sway Dusty the way my dad claims it does other people. It soothes him. It makes him funny and honest and tolerable.

My dad doesn’t know everything.

"I thought about you all day,” Dusty says softly, lazily. "I miss your face. I miss your candy wrappers all over my room. I miss your cold toes on my legs under the covers."
"Oh, yeah?" I grip the phone tighter, pressing my knees together. The sound of his low voice sends chills up and down my arms. I bite my bottom lip and curl my toes.

“Come over.” He exhales.

I roll onto my side and turn my face into the hoodie’s hood, inhaling the faint sent of vanilla. I’m lit up, full of crazy butterflies and overriding happiness. This boy makes me smile bright.

"I'll take my mom's car. I'll come get you." He's only half-kidding. "Say yes."

"You'll drive high?"

"I'm not high." There's a moment of silence before he chokes on his laughter. "I'm so fucking high."

I revel in his tone, and his voice, and his silly, half-slurred words while I lie in the dark pretending he's close.

"I'm so hungry, Bliss baby. If you were here, I'd probably eat your elbow. I’d eat your—"

"Dusty,” I cut him off. “Tell me a secret."

"I love you," he says.

Mary’s Bio:

Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. Known as The Realist, she is one half of The Elizabeths—a duo brave enough to never hide the truth. Born and raised in Southern California, she’s a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her stranglehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.

To follow Mary’s upcoming solo and collaborative projects, she can be found at her website http://www.maryelizabethlit.com/.

Brought together by their love of storytelling, Mary and Sarah Elizabeth are a pair of dedicated writers with complementary strengths who’ve cultivated a literary style that captures a Realist’s brutality with a Poet’s grace, uncovering the self-seeking side of tenderness and the undisguised truth of honesty. Inspired by the lyrics of a song, Dusty was born between emails and long G-chats before a single chapter was ever typed. A short story turned into a monster, and more than four years and several edits later, the first half of their collaboration, Innocents, will be released on July 14, 2014. And its conclusion, Delinquents, is set to release on October 23, 2014.

If you’d like to contact The Elizabeths, they can be located on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheElizabethsDusty?ref=hl.

 Sarah’s Bio:

Listener, messenger, secret keeper, Elizabeth, and TrueLove, Sarah works two jobs by day so that she's able to really work by night. She's written since she was old enough to hold a marker, and her writing bridges the sacred and profane, from first love to forbidden, with a longing for truth and a passion for hearts. She is currently based in Kansas City where her army is comprised of one little buffalo. Her best friends are girls named Moses and Bunny. Her hero is a boy named Bishop, and the one she loves has ocean eyes. In addition to Dusty, Sarah also has a collaborative novella, Light and Wine, due to be released on June 8th, and her solo work will be featured in the anthology Branded, this August.

Brought together by their love of storytelling, Mary and Sarah Elizabeth are a pair of dedicated writers with complementary strengths who’ve cultivated a literary style that captures a Realist’s brutality with a Poet’s grace, uncovering the self-seeking side of tenderness and the undisguised truth of honesty. Inspired by the lyrics of a song, Dusty was born between emails and long G-chats before a single chapter was ever typed. A short story turned into a monster, and more than four years and several edits later, the first half of their collaboration, Innocents, will be released on July 14, 2014. And its conclusion, Delinquents, is set to release on October 23, 2014.

If you’d like to contact The Elizabeths, they can be located on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheElizabethsDusty?ref=hl.

Mary's Social Media: 
Sarah's Social Media: 

Huge shout out to Ari at Cover it! Designs for the beautiful cover she made us. 

And a second thank you to Ena Burnette for putting together the cover reveal packages. 


It's official. The Elizabeths are confirmed for our first signing in Houston, Texas this August. Come hang out with us and celebrate Dusty Innocents in publication!

post signature


Well, there it is--proof. You'd think that screenshot would be enough to convince anyone of the obvious plagiarism going on here, right? Obviously Shey's tagline and our tagline is the same, and going by the dates, we created it first. I remember coming up with it. I was sitting in my room at my desktop, emailing back and forth with Sarah, my co-writer. Coming up with that simple summary for our Twilight fan fiction story took us nearly a week. 
All Shey Stahl had to do was copy and paste it to the cover of her book. (allegedly) <-- Lawyer's rules.
Want to know what's worse? Today I was accused of creating this on Word to "set her up." 
So, you want more proof? 

 I was accused to doctoring this one up too. 

(allegedly) Oh, but I'm not the only one Shey Stah (Hey, Shey, you should be glad I'm not posting your real name) stole from. Here are a few more comparisons. 

Not enough? 

Still not convinced? 

No? Okay. 

One more. 

She also stole from my latest fan fiction Pickup Truck and from a whole list of other fan fiction writers. (allegedly) And since I have an entire folder of screenshots that'll crowd this post, I'll just link you to a few well known blogs who covered the entire story with all the proof you'll need. 

I've gone this far, let me do all the research for you. 

Here's the Goodreads page where the story originally broke. You'll want to pay special attention to Ari Bookzilla's review: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18190731-for-the-summer?from_search=true

Trust me, I wish I could upload the C&D we sent her (I don't even know if I can talk about it. Sorry, lawyer girl.) Which included pages and pages of comparisons from our work and what Shey Stahl (allegedly) stole from us and put into her books For the Summer and Waiting for You.  Not to mention the names "Sway" and "Jameson" which are used in her racing series are also, ironically (not ironic at all), used in Dusty. 

I could easily go into this long and drawn out story about how Sarah and I have spent the last five years in some way or another working on Dusty. And how it's our baby and blah blah blah. 
I don't think I need to, and secondly, I don't think I should have to. 

Dusty is mine. Dusty is Sarah's. Dusty is not Shey Stahl's. 

This story means a lot of things to a lot of people. So why exactly am I, Sarah, and the readers having to defend it's honor? Why are we being accused of setting Shey up? 

Who the fuck is Shey Stahl? 

If you're reading this, Shey, I had no idea who you were before you plagiarized Dusty and Pickup Truck. Your books never crossed my feed. You were a stranger to me. And had it not been for what you did, you would still be nameless. You have nothing I want. Nothing I need. You're disgusting. 

There are a couple of things I want to address. 

This is an excerpt from an open letter Shey posted on her website giving some bullshit explanation of what happened. 

First of all, "nothing we say or do is 100% original" is a total cop out. It's my opinion that you are a coward and fake and a liar. Oh, and a thief. And this is a thief's excuse and a liar's answer. I spent years writing Dusty, and although it started as a Twilight fan fiction, trust me, girl, it's original and 100% not yours. 

This statement is a slap in the face to every writer out there who spends years, months, days, hours, minutes, fucking seconds, creating and writing stories. We don't take time out of our lives, huddled up with our computers, ignoring our families and not sleeping so people like you can come along and take it. There's a difference between being inspired and stealing, Shey! You are a thief, so 100% of anything you write is not original. Don't group the rest of us in your lies. 

Fuck no. 

Eat me. 

You can take your open letter, your lies, and your disrespect for me and writing in general and shove it up your ass. I don't know how you sleep at night, Shey. I don't know how you close your eyes and dream. I don't know how you open a computer and "write" without guilt eating you alive. All we asked from you was to apologize and not do it again. Instead, you're trying to make liars out of the victims. You have lies stacked on lies stacked on more lies, and where are you? You block any and everybody from your accounts. You let other people fight your battle. And you type up this pathetic letter and post it on your site and disappear. And that USA Today Best Selling Author tag you keep posting on your books and sites is not yours--it belongs to the authors you plagiarized. 

I could easily post your real name, your address, your financial history, your work history ... I could split your life wide open. But I'm not like you. 

And to anyone who knowingly supports this person, you're just as bad. 


post signature


If you follow me on any of my many social media accounts, you know the GIF above is a perfect example of where I am mentally. So, I'm writing this because I need to write something. Anything. 

First of all, I had no ground to ever call myself an author a year ago. I wrote, I posted stories, and I played the role of "aspiring author," but I didn't understand the beginning of what it really takes to be a legitimate writer. 

I'm slowly figuring it out. 

For those of you who know this story, I'll try to make this fast. If you don't, well, here's a little about me: I'm 29. Wife. Mother. Dog lover. Hairstylist. Book lover. Sleepy. Anxious. Typo master to the fullest. Friend. Elizabeth. Comma murderer. American. Medicated. Christian. Californian. Mean girl turned regretful. Skinny-fat. Fat-skinny. Short. Twi-hard. 

In 2009, I read a book called Twilight and needed something to help cure the massive book hangover I had. Naturally, I jumped online and that's where I found FFn. I hadn't a clue what fan fiction was at that point, but it most definitely changed my life once discovered. I fed my Team Edward addiction by reading these amazing, original stories written with some of my favorite characters. Suddenly, Edward wasn't only a sensitive vampire, but he was a doctor, an insomniac, a bad boy, a dominant, a fighter ... he was what anyone wanted him to be. 

I devoured these tales. I didn't sleep. I didn't eat. I didn't clean. I read. And after a few months of this, I knew I could make Edward what I wanted him to be too. 

I wrote Closer. 

Not my best piece of work, but it was my first. After Closer, I wrote California Waiting, and then I wrote Revelry. Between all of that, I penned multiple short stories--some I even won contests with. And believe it or not, people actually seemed to like what I came up with. So, I sought out help and got better. I sort of learned where to put a comma, and I kind of learned what I dialogue tag is. To this day, I will mess up tenses and put a semicolon where it doesn't belong. I make the most ridiculous mistakes, but the point is, I discovered a love for writing and therefore made it a very important part of my life. 

At that point, I thought I was a writer. I wasn't. 

Nothing. And I mean absolutely nothing I knew prepared me for Dusty. 

BNA or Big Named Author. Such a stupid label. A stigma. A stereotype. And lately, a bad word among the fandom. 

Closer is such a piece of shit story. So is it's sequel. I can go on and on about how wrong they are, but my readers loved them. And so they read the next thing I wrote, and the next, and the next. Enter social media. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, readers and writers and everyone in-between could actually talk to one another. Pennames had a voice, and in the early days, a picture of Robert Pattinson for an avi. 

It was cool. We recommended stories to each other and we "pimped" our own. Social media was actually the first place where I was referred to as a BNA. And let's be real, it totally hyped up my ego. 

It was cool to be cool. 

By the time Sarah and I started Dusty, I had my share of fandom success. I had a reputation for being real and carrying that into my writing. I was opinionated and open. I wasn't blunt, but I wan't afraid to share my thoughts with anyone. I was friendly, but I'm not really sure I was approachable. I was defensive. 

Dusty is a MONSTER. It's my heart and soul and demons and dreams and everything written into thirty something chapters. How dare anyone think they had the right to tell me what they didn't like about my heart and soul and demons! How dare anyone suggest what I should change or add or change! Who the fuck is anyone to tell me anything? 

Yeah, I was an idiot. And that attitude is one of the reasons I wasn't a real author. 

You don't know what rejection is like until someone actually takes time out of their life to create a Twitter account with the sole purpose of calling you a cunt all day. I mean, it had other purposes, like calling my co-writer a cunt too, but yeah, that was tough. 

I will not take full responsibility for that, because ... whatever, but I contributed to how people perceived me. Dusty and everything that came with it was unreal. The reactions our readers had, even the amazing ones, felt overwhelming. I started to wonder what had I ever done to deserve the talent for telling a story. Why me? Why are people telling me that I am all of these things? Why am I good enough to be anyones favorite author? Mix in a very fiery relationship with the other half of that and I had the exact recipe for a mental breakdown. 

So I had one. 

It may have been one of the best things to happen to me. When you are at your highest point, people love you. When you are at your lowest, you find out who and what really matters. I found clarity in my own madness. And I did a lot of soul searching. After apologizing to who I needed to say sorry to, and heavily rethinking what I wanted to do, I was left with an amazing group of friends and drive. 

Listen, I am who I am. I can't make you or anyone else like me. But I don't have to be such an asshole. Dusty is an epic story, but it's not the Bible. Not everyone has to like it. And I will write other things. Better things. Worse things. Fails and successes. I'm only 29 and if I have my way, I will live a long life. I plan to write a lot of things. Dusty is not the end all be all. 

Over the last few months, I've been given some great advice by some great authors.

I'll name drop a few. 

Tiffany Reisz told me to never give up. 

Alice Clayton told me my story is amazing and that I need to speak up and be strong. 

Christina from Christina Lauren said a mixture of the two.

I could literally go on and on. I have created some mind blowing relationships with some mind blowing authors. And bloggers and editors and readers and and and ... 

My dog, Dusty, has become my mascot. When I need some quick love, I cuddle him. And the humans, well, the photobomber is my best friend, Ashley. The handsome man is my husband, Jason. The little boy is my mini. 

Ashley and Jason are where real inspiration comes from. When I had that breakdown, it was those two who kept me from drowning. And to this very day, it's they who remind me that everything will be okay. They believe in me. They keep me strong. They sacrifice so much so I can go after what I want: 

To be an author. 

My first book won't be out until July, but I think I may have achieved this goal. Not because I'm an official Goodreads author. 

Not because I have this amazing cover (to be revealed May 1st,) or because my family knows about it and are excited. I'm not an author because I have signings coming up or bookmarks with my name on them or because any of the authors above know who I am. 

I am an author because I've spent the last six months editing said book. 

post signature