Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chatting with Liz Crowe....

1)   What is your writing routine?
I own a craft microbrewery and handle all aspects of marketing, retail staff management and sales. I get my writing in where I can, especially now considering both businesses are taking off in a big way.  I can’t say I have any routine.  Hans (my well-known, 6’5” blond lederhosen wearing Muse who is a dead ringer for Chris Evans) strikes me. I write. I’ve been known to do it sitting at my beer bar, on airplanes, on my back patio, at the kitchen table, as a passenger on a car ride and in a room full of soccer parents waiting for a rain delay.

2)   Which author/s inspire you to write?
John Irving
Margaret Atwood
Anne Tyler
John Green
Lianne Moriarty
Stephen King (Green Mile and The Stand mostly)

3)   Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?
I will admit that I’m more or a mainstream reader but when I reach for “romance” I go straight for erotic. But I’m picky there too. I want an actual story with the (preferably well-constructed) sex scenes left in to advance the story, not to be the focus of it.
Technically I write “contemporary erotic romance” but I have coined a new phrase based on the growing number of fans and reviews I’ve been getting:
Romance For Real Life
This genre is devoid of purple prose (or anything “purple” if you know what I mean) and terribly obvious happy endings.  My characters are fairly typical physically speaking but harbor all sorts of foibles and “real” characteristics that keep them from always doing what traditional romance readers expect (or want).  “Necessary components” for this genre are: characters who screw up, at times more than once; situations that readers can actually relate to; messiness—like kids; very sexy and explicit encounters, that many times lead to the above 3 things.

4)   How do you deal with criticism/rejection?
I pout for a bit, but not nearly as long as I used to. I don’t encounter that much rejection anymore but am certainly open to criticism in the form of lukewarm or even harsh reviews.  I got a particularly bad one from the Grand Dame of all “romance reviewers” not long ago. That stung. Until I realized that the reasons I iterated above about my style and preferences for reading and writing just were not traditional enough for that particular periodical.
I was in sales for years (still am). If you can’t take “no” and translate it into something positive you should not be in sales (or writing for actual publication).

5)   What do you expect from an editor?
Sense of Humor.

6)   Tell me about your latest release
Escalation Clause: Stewart Realty book 6 is the continuing saga of a group of people I started writing about 4 years ago. The first 3 books (Floor Time/Sweat Equity/Closing Costs) are a trilogy about Jack Gordon and Sara Thornton—the poster children for “romance for real life” many of my fans claim. I had many compelling secondary characters, including Blake, Sara’s brother and his partner, Rob (who also knew Jack from college). Craig Robinson, a potential rival to Jack for Sara’s heart and a few others. They were so compelling I wrote their books (Essence of Time and Conditional Offer, books 4 and 5).  This book is a long novel addressing another character’s life (Maureen, Jack’s widowed sister) as well as how the rest of the group moves on from a tragedy. 
It is NOT meant to be read as stand alone. And I do not encourage anyone to do that. The entire series is a best seller in many categories on Amazon (NONE of them “romance” interestingly enough). It is hot ( as in explicit) but ties up a few loose ends I left dangling in the previous books. I’m pretty proud of it.

7)   Which is your favorite character in the book?  Why?
There is no way I can not be a huge fan of Jack Gordon.
Here is his official bio:
John Patrick (Jack) Gordon is the quintessential super alpha male, a self-made success, driven type-A+ with a penchant for the latest challenge.

At the opening of the Stewart Realty series he is Ann Arbor’s most eligible 36-year-old bachelor, a multi millionaire builder, real estate broker and in the middle of one his latest high profile female conquests. He has suppressed his inner, former Dom in favor of less demanding (of his partners) hook ups, and besides, he’s too busy to take on a sub. Why not just get laid…a lot?

He is the epitome of all things very classic Alpha. A Rolex sporting, Ray-Ban wearing, tailored suit kind of guy, 6’ 6”, with full-on “black Irish” charm—snapping blue eyes and coal black hair. He’s a car fanatic, with a ’66 Stingray and convertible 1960 Lincoln Mark six in the garage plus the latest model Navigator to haul clients around in.  There is nothing subtle about his personality. He’s a successful salesman and cocksman for a reason. But is highly loyal to his close friends and family, which consists of a sister, brother-in-law and their children, as both of his parents are dead.

He does not suffer fools lightly, but is a top notch professional, and eventually becomes general manager of the large Stewart Realty company, while turning the reigns of his father’s construction company over to his sister. He owns four large buildings in downtown Ann Arbor, and is a complete soccer fanatic, taking it so far as to procure funding and permission to start a professional league expansion team in Detroit.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business from Michigan State University,  a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern and was twice named as “Hot Realtor on the Rise” by the National Association of Realtors. A running fanatic, he logs nearly ten miles every day, and has recently become a Bikram Yoga practitioner.  When the series begins he has never been married, and is fairly set in his ways. Until, of course, he meets Sara Thornton.

By the end of Escalation Clause it is clear that Jack is the glue that binds many people together and he rises to the occasion, after a few slip ups along the way.
He has his own facebook page which gains more fans daily. 

8)   What are you working on right now?
I am working on a ménage novella I contracted to Tri Destiny (publisher of the Stewart Realty series, Vegas Miracle and Paradise Hops). Honey Red will release in December. I also have the “Black Jack Gentlemen” spin off series from Stewart Realty that will be releasing in January 2013.
And I have 2 mainstream projects in mind for 2013 as well.

9)                  Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?
Don’t give up. Don’t take criticism any way but how it is meant. Your first draft is ALWAYS shit (shout out to Papa Hemingway for that one).

Liz Crowe

Young love burns hot and bright. Soul mates are found, then lost in the blink of an eye. When young widow Maureen Gordon Taylor meets her daughter's sexy soccer coach, her body and heart slowly unthaw.  But will holding tight to the past cost her a future?  
A devastating blow shatters a family's fragile happiness. Rob Freitag and Lila Warren now confront life without the emotional glue that once bound them, but a shared goal brings them back together. Is it enough to make them whole again and become the family they were meant to be?
Mutual trust is hard won for the Gordons.  When tragedy strikes, Jack and Sara’s lives are sent into a tailspin.  To keep her family from falling apart, she must force Jack to admit his deepest fears. After everything they’ve been through, can they revive the spark and move to the next stage of marital fulfillment?
The sweeping saga of the Stewart Realty series continues as long-time friends learn to rely on each other, and to grab hold of happiness before it's too late. 


The sunlight pierced the light haze of his sleep. Brandis groaned, rolled over seeking shade and found himself hand-and-kneeing it facing the brick pavers of his parents’ patio. “Christ in a sidecar what time is it?” He mumbled, flipping around so he sat, back against the chaise lounge that must have served as his bed for the night. Not that he recalled anything after the second joint. He groaned and ran a hand down his already sweaty face.

Jack walked out the back door, Mountain Dew in hand, dressed for work at his father’s construction site for the day. Brandis blinked at his friend. “How in the hell can be so awake and non-hung over? I feel like three day old shit.”

“You look like it, too.” Jack slammed the remaining soda and threw the can into the returnables' bin. “You taking those back today? We need food at the house while you’re at it.”

Brandis flipped him off. “I look like your personal shopper?”

“No,” Jack sat, laced his work boots up then leveled a deep blue stare at him. “You look like a guy lucky enough not to have to work on the Saturday after a giant pool party.” His friend leaned forward on his knees and gave Brandis an ominous look. “You also look like the guy who could possibly be messing around with my sister. I don’t recommend you be that guy. Not at all.”

“I’m…” Brandis started to say something, but he had nothing, so he stayed quiet. Jack stared him down, turned on his heel then left, letting the gate bang loud behind him. Brandis crawled to the edge of the pool, noted all the shit he needed to clean out of it including at least two condoms, then stuck his feet into the cold water, groaning when his temples started pounding to the beat of his heart. He put his head in his hands. Mo was the first thing he saw when he closed his eyes. Her bright blue eyes snapping with laughter, anger, and…desire … God help him, he had nursed a crush on her for years.

She’d been such a tomboy, running with him and Jack, tagging along then joining in the baseball, basketball, soccer whatever they concocted, up to and including egg throwing at Halloween and more less innocent vices. Their easy camaraderie had always allowed them to wrestle, to tickle, to touch. After she’d shown up at his house last month, determined to escape her jerk-off father, he thought he could just ease back into it. But, he hadn’t seen her in over a year, and in that time, she had become a full-fledged, jaw-dropping woman. Her tall, athletic frame was lush, lovely, full-hipped and inviting. The deep blue of her eyes and inky black fall of her hair made him want to bury his hands in it, to kiss her until she begged for more.

So, it seemed, his crush had bloomed into full-blown lust. A desire she apparently matched.

 No way.

He’d heard Jack’s message loud and clear. And as much of a man-whore as Brandis was, he was a loyal friend. So, Mo was off limits. Fine. He did not need that hassle, not now, with just a month and a half before he left for Colorado.

He leaned back on his hands and willed his cock soft, but the memory of her lips, and the feel of her skin against his if just for that one moment was not something he would soon forget. When he’d fucked that girl in the basement then realized Mo had been down there, watching them, it had taken him a couple of seconds to acknowledge he’d been picturing her beneath him, her body taking his, the sounds of her climax in his ears the entire time.

What a fucking mess.

“Hey,” he nearly jumped a mile into the air at the sound of her voice. “I, um, just want to say, you know, well…” She sat a couple of feet from him and let her feet dangle in the water. “Sorry.” She looked straight ahead.

“For what?” He cleared his throat, nervous beyond belief.

“For spying on you. I mean, I wasn’t, I was getting a drink and just kind of … oh hell. You know what I mean.” She looked down into the water. “This pool is disgusting.” She shoved a greasy looking floating seat away with her foot. “Are those…” She pointed to the used rubbers on the bottom.

“Yeah,” he ran a hand down his face, then jumped up and grabbed the skimmer. He cleared the condoms, a bottle of sunscreen and three beer cans from the pool, trying to ignore her. But his baser self would not cooperate and he had to grab a towel and fasten it around his waist to hide the damn tent in his shorts. She moved all the chairs back into their usual places and cleaned off the two glass-topped tables, finding yet another rubber in the grass near the back fence.

“You guys sure do know how to throw a party.” She smiled at him, lifting his heart and making his damn cock pound in time with his headache.

“Huh,” he grunted, before turning the water on to refill the pool and taking a reading on the chemicals. Sweat dripped off his forehead, blurring his vision. Fuck it was hot out already and it was barely eight o’clock in the morning. She crouched down next to him, her arm grazing his, making him flinch. Crush, Brandis. Remember? She is a no-go zone. Don’t do it.


 Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author.
When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.

Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.



  1. Wonderful series.. I Love it!!!

  2. Hi Liz and Leigh! I can't wait to post my review next week. *sigh*

    Jack is the man but I'm also Team Craig. :)


  3. Well, very nice discussion points today..thanks for the Q&A. I'd be interested in knowing more about Hans, your 6'5" muse. Where did you find him and does he have a brother?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  4. Ha! Karen, Hans is a bit of a mash up of my two worlds: Beer and writing. Hence his tall, blond, German-ness and the fact that he always brings me a beer. Love that kid.

  5. I think I'd be a fan of Jack Gordon too, especially since he "went" to my alma mater MSU

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  6. I'd read a book about Hans too, unless that sounds too meta. This one looks fun!


  7. Jack is a Sparty Shannon Ro through and through!

  8. Great excerpt...a winner as usual!

  9. Jack Gordon is "the man"!I have read every book in the series and as long as Ms. Crowe writes I'm reading!

  10. Thank you for the amazing excerpt. I'm going to enjoy reading more.