Erika Cruz writes adult contemporary romance under the pen name ELLE CRUZ. She graduated many moons ago from UC Irvine with a degree in English. She lives in Southern California with her sexy husband and two cute kiddos who are growing up way too fast. When she isn’t writing swoon-worthy scenes, she works by day as a nurse practitioner. And when she’s not working her day job she’s spending an inordinate amount of time on YouTube and shopping online. Yes, she has an unhealthy obsession with Lululemon, Color Street Nails, and buying books. We all have our vices, right??
I’ve dreamed of becoming a writer since the 2nd grade. Decades later in 2015, right after grad school, I decided to put serious effort into making my writing dream come true. I started out writing YA SFF. In 2017 I was fortunate enough to get selected as part of the AMM Program for Round 3. Although my YA space opera came very close to getting representation, it ultimately didn’t work out and I shelved it. I ended up writing a total of four YA manuscripts. Finally, I decided to give adult romance a shot. I’d always loved romance from an early age (twelve! EEK!) However I always thought I lacked the skill set to actually write it. I soon proved myself wrong when I finally got an agent for my Own Voices adult rom com.
Although this is my first time mentoring, I’ve been writing and researching craft and the publishing industry for five years straight. On top of that, I am an avid reader in all genres I write. I also have a ton of experience as a CP and beta reader. Many of my CPs have gone on to become agented themselves, and two scored book deals! I have an English degree, and on top of that I spent many years in grad school writing countless papers. I have a lot of experience in proof reading and editing. It’s disturbing to think of how many hours I actually spent using MS Word in school.
From the moment I won a coveted spot as a Round 3 AMM mentee, I wanted to become a mentor myself. Not only do I LOVE teaching and mentoring in my day job, I knew it would be a dream come true to be able to fulfill this role for a fellow writer. My experience in AMM was invaluable. I cannot begin to describe the amazing experience I had with a mentor and becoming part of a talented, supportive, and enthusiastic community. I am still friends with many of my AMM fam, and pre-pandemic we would hang out regularly! I want to pay it forward and give back what this amazing community has given to me. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a mentee learn and thrive and succeed!
It’s really tough to describe how much Author Mentor Match truly changed my life. Ever since I was chosen as a mentee back in Round 3, I’ve been plunged into an amazing world with the best group of writers I could ever wish for. I had the support of a fantastic mentor who taught me so much about craft. And now it’s my turn to pay it forward.
I’m looking for a mentee who loves adult contemporary romance just as much as I do. I am looking for someone who’s excited to work hard but finds joy in continuously improving craft. We will work closely together through big picture edits, to working through plot holes, and all the way to the query stage when you’re ready.
Send me your contemporary romance, especially rom-coms! From fixing the big picture to patching up plot holes to coming up with laugh-out-loud dialogue, I will be there from start to finish. I am so excited to work with you and fall head over heels for your story!
- Enemies to lovers
- Fake relationships
- Subversion of tropes and traditional gender or role expectations. If you can flip the damsel in distress trope, or gender flip a fairy tale retelling in a fun and fresh way, I want it!
- Not a fan of love triangles (sorry)
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
- DMs in social media such as Twitter & IG
For edits and recommendations, I communicate primarily via email. However I am also available for quick messages via text.
I mainly focus on big picture edits because I believe this is the core of your story, and none of the details can fall into place unless the foundation is solid.
I’m big on regular communication and I strive to reply within 24 to 48 hours. Oftentimes I get back sooner because I LOVE chatting about all things writing!
I prefer to read an entire manuscript so that I can craft an edit letter targeting the big picture edits. I ask lots of questions to get you to delve deeper into your characters and plot. Overall I want to focus on strengthening the foundation and pitch to make sure you’ve got a great hook that’s irresistible to agents and editors. I’ll be happy to guide you through the querying process too!
If you’re looking for someone to give tough love, I’m not that person. I’m good at giving constructive criticism and being truthful in a positive way, but above all I’m a cheerleader. I’m there to focus on all the wonderful things about your story! I’m a believer in emphasizing strengths in order to become a better writer. Yes it’s important to learn from mistakes, but like I said, I’m a cheerleader first and foremost. I’ll be your fan girl supporter from our first day to the day you get that agent, and beyond!
- Positive attitude, motivated, takes initiative
- Thick skin: publishing is no walk in the park. You have to understand that failure and rejection are a part of the process. You can’t let it stop you!
- Good communicator
- Doesn’t mind me sending funny memes or GIFs
- Someone who doesn’t mind laughing and having a good old time!
- I am looking for a fresh, funny, irreverent voice in adult contemporary romance. I want a story that will not only blow my mind and make me swoon, but will stay in my heart for a long, long time.
- I love witty banter.
- I love smart, self-motivated heroines who are capable of standing up for themselves without being too sassy or defensive (think AOC and Sasha Tran from Always Be My Maybe). Strong and feminist, but human and vulnerable? Send her my way!
- I want a love interest who’s got a great sense of humor (points for dry and deadpan, or witty like William Thacker in Notting Hill).
- High stakes catch my interest, but that doesn’t mean the fate of the world hangs in the balance. What is high stakes to your characters? What is really important to them that they stand to lose?
- I prefer quirky rom-coms in the vein of The Hating Game, The Kiss Quotient, and Tessa Bailey’s Hot and Hammered series, but I also have a weak spot for well-crafted, high intensity romance like Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan, or the Eastside Brewery series by Mia Hopkins.
- Points for travel to exotic and/or exciting places! From the small town to the French Riviera, or the wilds of the Antarctic, I’d love to see how your MC handles strange new surroundings
- Extra points for Own Voices, BIPOC authors, and fresh, unique takes on the time honored tropes. If it’s funny, swoony, and shot through with some high heat, send it my way!
- Positive and joyful LGBTQIA rep!
- I would LOVE to see amazing Own Voices disabled representation. I want to see the beauty and joy of disabled MCs getting swept away in a romantic story!
DO NOT SEND ME:
I think this goes without saying but I am not interested in:
- Any work that is insensitive/racist/prejudiced to certain cultures, religions, or marginalized groups
- Rape as a plot device
- Anything scary
- Paranormal: I love me some ghosts and vampires but I’m not the best mentor for them.
- Historical: I ADORE reading historical romance, but I’m not an expert at writing it…yet.
- Dysfunctional or abusive relationships where one person is clearly the victim. These things have a place in certain stories, but I don’t want it in my inbox please.
- Very dark, violent, or disturbing stories
- Ableism: if your story revolves around a sick or disabled character miraculously healing and becoming “perfect,” or uses their suffering to teach the rest of us an overarching lesson, it’s not for me.
TV Shows/Miniseries: The Queen’s Gambit, Never Have I Ever, Atypical, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, Anne with an E, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Witcher, I Love Lucy, Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Saved by the Bell, Euphoria, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Movies (I’m only going to give you my top 5 or else we’ll be here all day LOL)
1.) The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
2.) Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
3.) Howl’s Moving Castle
4.) You’ve Got Mail
5.) Notting Hill
Open Pandora’s Box by clicking here: