Oh dearest friends…it’s a big day around here. I am a very vocal supporter of Liz Crowe’s writing. I stumbled upon her last May and have been working my way through her extensive library ever since. Liz writes relationship fiction and she does it so VERY well. There are no easy answers in her books. She’ll never tie everything up with a bow for you, but the stories are so compelling that you may be okay with that. The characters of Stewart Realty have crawled into the deep recesses of my brain. They’re real people to me when I’m not paying attention. I’ve yelled at them. I’ve cried for them. I’ve cheered for them.
I’ve been vocal for a while about the first three books in the Stewart Realty series needing to be packaged as one story. There is NO resolution between books and cliffhangers make me psychotic. Just buy it all, baby! The new Stewart Realty Anthology is really 3 novels ( FLOOR TIME, SWEAT EQUITY, CLOSING COSTS ) in one.
You may want to start with my post chronicling the series. Don’t get overwhelmed. The whole point of this anthology is to get you caught up. Take a chance on Jack, Sara, and all the assorted fuckery. Yep…that’s the only word I have for it. It’s such great fuckery, too.
Now, keep reading for Liz’s guest post where she make me blush and go “aww, shucks” a little. Thanks, girl.
Buy the Stewart Realty Print Anthology
For a limited time, GOOD FAITH, the epic last installment of the Stewart Realty saga, is on sale for just $.99! Buy links are in my review post.
Grab it now and read it when you get there. I assure you…you’ll get there.
Why True Fans Matter
By Liz Crowe
On this precarious and crazy journey of “published author-hood” there lie many detours and deep potholes. It is easy to lose sight of why you have to spend so many hours promoting, blogging, tooting your horn or otherwise (actually) begging and pleading for readers to give your book a chance. The noise of other authors, promotions companies and publishers can be deafening especially those who have achieved YOUR goals before you with (you suspect or believe) books that don’t come close to what you have written.
The ego of the author is like a soft, fragile baby bird eggshell. That we must shelter with a thick skin and smart mouths, shrugging off bad reviews on occasion as well as the attitude of some folks who are the opposite of “supportive.”
It’s why I love visiting here, with fans like your very own Midwest Galley Girl. It’s such a relief to feel among friends, her followers and readers—sort of like taking off your bra and work suit at the end of the day and slipping into sweats and a floppy tee shirt. It feels perfect.
So I say to you, support your favorite writers but think before you criticize one who may have written a book you didn’t like or taken his or her characters in a direction you don’t care for. At the end of the day, the author calls the shots for their stories. The best you can be is ‘there’ for them, helping promote if you are online with the Facebooking, Tweeting, Pinning or Tumblr sharing, or telling your friends the old fashioned way: “Support this author by buying their book(s). Pass it on.”
The temptation to write a negative review for a book you found dissatisfying, or to say something not polite about an author whose politics don’t match yours on the every present social network platforms or whatever is great. But I say, if you have a “personal problem” with someone (authors included) you really should handle that outside the public realm of social networking. If you just flat out hated one of their books both of you are better served by you writing a private email or letter to that author explaining how you felt, what you liked about their other books an letting them know you may give the book in questions a low “rating” but that you will not be negative online about them personally or otherwise. I got one of these emails once, about Mutual Release that I had given free to a fellow author who asked for it. While I disagreed with pretty much 99.9% of all her points about “what I got wrong about BDSM in general and with my characters in particular” I valued the fact she brought it to me, and did not air it to the world instead.
If you are angry about someone’s politics, how they treat others, or what they say about “your genre” try this: stop listening or paying attention to them. It is amazing how much more fun social networking is when you aren’t pissed off at what half of the people you pay attention to are saying. There are a few VERY famous, gigantic NYT Best selling authors who have made fools of themselves over this sort of thing recently in my opinion and would have been better served writing their books and counting their movies made and royalties received. One of them has lost me as a reader forever thanks to her antics.
To all you amazing, avid, voracious readers and fans of hardworking authors out there: THANK YOU. And to one of my staunchest and most practical supporters the Galley Girl here: Double Thank You.
I hope you all get a chance to start in with the Stewart realty series. Sometimes when I feel crappy about my ability to write, I will go back and read one of Galley Girl’s early posts about Liz and feel so much better. You all have the ability to help an author along, or to tear one down. I say, help someone along. The tearing down bit could come back to haunt you, and besides, it really doesn’t make you feel any better about yourself.
Excerpt from Floor Time Excerpt (Stewart Realty Series (Book 1):
Sara put her palms against the ice-cold glass of the floor-to-ceiling windows. She smiled, observing the entire downtown of Ann Arbor spread out below her like a child’s carpet map. The heat rose visibly from the pavement as the crowds scurried in and out of restaurants and shops.
Adam’s arms around her waist startled her. As she turned, a niggling voice at the back of her brain made her hesitate before brushing his lips with hers. They’d been in the vacant condo way too long. Now that he’d teased a satisfactory orgasm from her neglected body, an antsy, nervous sensation wormed through her psyche. She sighed and disentangled herself from his embrace.
When the doorbell echoed through the cavernous space, she broke out in a cold sweat. Fumbling with blouse buttons, she pushed past Adam on her way through the kitchen and to the door, cursing under her breath. She looked back to make sure he was pulled together – not a tough thing since neither of them got completely out of their clothes – and scowled as he gave her a knowing smile.
Shit. You should not have done this. You don’t even really like him. But it had been so long and he was pretty good looking. Jesus, slut much Sara?
Sara let guilty thoughts clang around her head long enough to hear the doorbell ring once more before yanking it open, her perfect pleased-to-see-you sales smile fixed in place, keys clutched in one hand.
Jack had a hot date, one that was going to yield him a kick-ass listing, but due to the unwarranted dawdling of the condo-shopping couple he had been dragging around, he’d be lucky to make it in time. The empty lock box on the door of the penthouse unit provided the real icing on the cake. He leaned on the doorbell, hoping they could skip this one and stop wasting his time while mouthing platitudes to his clients. He had hoped that the relocating, executive couple like the ones he was courting at that moment wouldn’t spend so much of his valuable time arguing over granite colors and the relative benefits of central vacuum cleaners. God, he hated this job sometimes. He smiled, and turned, hearing the click of the deadbolt. Finally.
When the heavy door swung open, the vision standing there froze him mid-sentence. Sara Thornton, one of the newer, and more successful, realtors at Stewart Realty, stared at him, eyes blazing in a strange combination of aggravation and satisfaction. Jack clenched his jaw at the sight of her smoking hot body encased in skintight short black skirt, creamy silk blouse and four-inch stilettos.
As one of the few chosen to populate the downtown storefront office, based upon her good looks and the ability to rope in new buyers and sellers off the streets of Ann Arbor, Sara had serious sales skills. He’d studied the branch’s numbers, as part of a management decision-making process, to ultimately turning down the offer to handle that stable of prima donnas. But at that moment Jack couldn’t believe he’d never noticed her before – really noticed her. Where had she been hiding? And what was that amazing sexy aura that permeated the air? Jack’s heart jumped in his chest.
“Um, hi Jack.” Her voice was hoarse, making him blink. He made a conscious effort to wipe the idiotic look off his face, aware of the annoying clients still standing at his elbow. He held out a hand, needing to confirm that her skin felt as hot as it looked. Surprised no one else saw the sparks pass between them, he couldn’t suppress a grin at the look on her flustered face.
So, she sensed it too. This could get interesting.
“Sara.” He heard his own voice, sounding a hell of a lot more confident than he felt at that moment. And he did not rattle easily. “Sorry to barge in but…” He was struck dumb once again by the sight of Adam Donovan, mortgage broker tool, at Sara’s shoulder. Jack gave himself a mental shake. The sudden realization of what had undoubtedly happened, in the same condo he was about to show, made his head pound. Reluctant admiration mixed with something resembling jealousy fogged his brain. He raised his eyebrows at the tall blond man whom he could have sworn was engaged to someone else.
“Jack.” Adam moved around the beautiful woman who still blocked the doorway. “Good to see you.”
Jack shook the guy’s hand, never taking his gaze from Sara, reserving his smile for her. His brain engaged, focus locked on Sara Thornton, and the world shifted under his expensively clad feet.
Sara had never been more embarrassed. No, that was too weak of a word – mortified was better. Jack Gordon, king of the Ann Arbor real estate universe, wanted to show the condo where she’d just let Adam Donovan mercy fuck her. As she tried not to drown in Jack’s deep blue gaze, Sara clenched her thighs, already imagining how he might have done it differently, and likely better.
“Um, hi Jack,” she croaked out. Her face flooded with heat; even more so when she put the keys in his outstretched hand, and yanked herself back at the intensity of their instant connection. Tall, ruggedly handsome with coal-black hair and a shimmering blue gaze, the man boasted a personality that bested all other males within a fifty-mile radius. Sara only knew of him, of course. They’d never actually met. However, she’d swear right then he seemed happy to see her. The realization made her zing from scalp to toes.
She watched his full lips form words but remained deafened by the roaring in her ears. His gaze never left hers, even when Adam nudged her aside and shook his hand. Her whole universe suddenly shrank to two people. Looking back, she’d pinpoint that as the instant she fell hopelessly in love with an impossible man.
Excerpt from Sweat Equity Excerpt (Stewart Realty Series (Book 2):
Sara smiled at the man lying next to her. He’d taken her world and yanked it into his orbit so hard and fast her head still spun some days. God help her she did love him despite her inner turmoil. She put a hand on his sweat-slicked chest and draped a leg over his. She propped up on her elbow and touched his check.
“Hmm?” his sleepy voice reminded her how much they both needed more shut eye having passed out rather than actually rested last night. He pulled her close. “I’m sorry,” he muttered into her hair. “It’s just.” She nodded into his shoulder. “Shit week, you know. All this wedding talk is not my thing or something. I don’t know. I do know I don’t deserve you.”
“Yeah, that is true. Look, we still have dinner with my parents tonight. My dad is a know-it-all doctor. I dread having the two of you in the same room, frankly, but we have to do it. They’re my family and they want to meet you.”
She felt him tense beneath her.
“That’s fine. I’ll be on my best behavior. But I don’t want him paying for any of this,” he swept a hand towards the small table where she’d piled up magazines and spreadsheets of wedding planning paraphernalia. “I’m doing it. You’re grown, not some little girl needing daddy’s money anymore.”
She bit her lip. “If he wants to I’m not going to stop him. It’s his prerogative. Can’t you just go with it?” She sat up, swung her legs to the floor.
He sang the same song, different verse, every time. They’d fight, he’d make up by making love to her. She’d let him. They wouldn’t talk about it. Again.
Sighing she stood, stretched her sated and tingling body, her mind on the massive list of shit to do today. Glancing over her shoulder, she allowed herself a long look at the man who would be her husband.
His six-foot five-inch frame firm, legs and arms covered with a light dusting of black hair; torso mostly bare, but for a line of jet-black hair beneath his navel leading down to the part of his body that he had, apparently, shared with so many. Her eyes trailed up, to his firm, square jaw, in need of a shave. Her palm itched to reach out, feel the sandpapery rasp of it, keeping him real.
How completely unreal this still seemed, even now after he’d given her yet another mind-boggling set of back-to-back orgasms. That should’ve been solid evidence he was there, with her, “hers” even. But he wasn’t. That small voice in her head, the “Old Sara,” with its nagging and worry, poked her psyche once again. You’re too alike. It will never work. Jack’s eyes opened, at the sound of his own light snore. His sleepy grin made her smile in spite of her heavy heart.
She was no sap. Her own parent’s relationship had made her a cynic to the extreme when it came to men. She knew it. She fully acknowledged her own emotional constipation. Yet, she let the man who currently held her heart in his large, talented hands tug her down onto the bed, into the circle of his arms. His skin, smell, and feel eased her as always. She closed her eyes just for a few minutes.
Excerpt from Closing Costs (Stewart Realty Series Book 3):
The place was a zoo by the time he pulled up. He parked, hopped out, following Sara’s instructions about going to the main office and presenting his identification since he’d never picked her up before. Little kids swarmed through the huge hallway, screeching, and flinging themselves into their parents’ arms. The place reeked of pee and old lunch boxes.
By the time the annoying paperwork was completed, it had more or less cleared out. He stood, like a chastened schoolboy, in front of the director’s desk as she called Sara to confirm that he, one Mr. Jack Gordon, said with a long appraising look at him and his drivers’ license, had been authorized to retrieve one Miss Katherine Elizabeth Thornton.
He adjusted his tie, suddenly nervous about having her in his car, about installing the car seat he’d retrieved from Sara’s new Mercedes SUV, and about a whole host of shit he couldn’t even begin to name, but mainly coming face-to-face with Katie again. He hadn’t seen her in months. Would she recognize him at all? He looked around, still waiting for them to copy his ID and, if the time commitment was any indication, apparently to do a full, police-style, background check on him. Anger started to replace anxiety as his patience waned. He tapped his foot.
“Look, I’m good, okay. I’m her…” He stopped dead. The woman at the desk looked up expectantly. “Uncle.” His voice faded.
“Katie certainly has a lot of those,” the annoying person chirped before handing his ID back and pointing to a side door. She gave him a different sort of look. This one he recognized. He smiled at her. She was sort of good looking, actually. “You gay like her other uncles?” Jack laughed.
“Well then.” Her eyes flicked up and down his suit-clad form. He made a point to take his hands out of his pockets to display his ring-less state, ignoring the anxiety that had reasserted itself. He fell into flirt mode as self-defense mechanism.
“So, this is your place?” He gestured around.
“Yes, I own it.” She leaned back and crossed her long legs. He took a step closer.
“You have kids then?”
“Older ones.” Her eyes swept up and down him. He chuckled.
“You realize you are checking me out, right?”
“Yeah, I do.” She slid a business card across her desk at him. “Go ahead through there. She’s waiting.”
The place practically echoed, all of the commotion having died down. Now there was only an eerie silence. He didn’t see a soul. About to start back through the door to the office and rip somebody a new one for sending him on a wild goose chase, a small voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Who are you?”
He gulped and stepped closer, letting the light hit his face. “I’m your Uncle Jack. Where are you anyway?” He still couldn’t see her.
“Oh. Where’s Uncle Blake?” He peered around a bookshelf, and saw her, sitting at a small table, lunchbox and small backpack clutched to her chest. Her bright white, high-top tennis-shoe-clad feet swung back and forth. Jack took in the hot pink tutu, purple tights and orange t-shirt adorned with what looked like a sponge, with a face.
“He’s on vacation. Nice outfit.” He held back, hands in pockets. Her huge green eyes appraised him with a worldliness that startled him. Her dark blonde hair was gathered in braids, more or less but tufts of it had escaped, haloing her face. He sucked in a breath at the resemblance to her mother, all the way down to the attitude she wore like a glove.
“Thanks. It’s my favorite. Are you stranger danger? You have on a nice suit for a kidlapper.” She didn’t move from her perch, just kept staring at him, her gaze open and innocent. A weird feeling settled in Jack’s chest. She kept swinging her feet. Jack took a seat next to her.
“Thanks. It’s my favorite.” He grinned. Something about her made him immediately comfortable. The proverbial four-going-on-forty he supposed. The maturity seemed natural, but tinged with her mother’s neediness. He winced at himself. “I’m not a stranger. Or a kidnapper. I’ve been to your house. For, um, birthdays. Stuff like that. I’m taking you home.”
“Oh, okay. Hang on.” He watched incredulous as she pulled a sparkling pink phone from her bag and put it to her ear. He cocked an eyebrow at her, listening as she called Sara, getting confirmation that Uncle Jack did not represent “Stranger Danger.”
“Your mother gave you a phone?” He smiled when she jumped down and stuck her hand out. He took it. “Pretty advanced for a four-year-old wouldn’t you say?”
“Yes, but I can only call, not text or use internets or anything. No games either.” She pouted a second. “Mommy says it makes me inpedendant,” Jack suppressed a grin. “Pleased to meet you Uncle Jack. Can we get Washtenaw Dairy on the way home?” He kept her small, warm hand in his and led her out.
“Won’t that ruin your dinner?”
“If Mommy’s late then you have to feed me dinner anyway. Uncle Blake makes me homemade mac and cheese. Can you make that?” Jack shook his head. The girl’s face brightened. “I know! Let’s have ice cream for dinner.”
“You are more like your mommy than you realize.” He fastened her into the complex seat with her help and then really looked at her a minute.
“I get that a lot.”
Jack laughed, loving the sound when she joined him. “How old are you anyway? Twenty? Thirty?”
“No silly. I’m four and three quarters. How old are you? A hundred?”
“Ha! Only at night.”
“Never mind. I haven’t had ice cream for dinner in a while. Let’s make it happen.” He put the car in gear and drove towards the venerable Ann Arbor ice cream spot nestled in the residential Old West Side. He snuck glances at her in the rearview mirror as she kept up a stream of consciousness monologue about the relative merits of Sponge Bob Square Pants versus Phineas and Ferb. He smiled, realizing his life would never be the same again.
About the Author
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.
Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.
Find Liz online at the following places:
Writing Blog: www.brewingpasssion.com
Beer Blog: www.a2beerwench.com
FB Author Page: www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor
FB Fan Page: www.facebook.com/groups/Lizcrowefans/
Jack Gordon’s FB Page: www.facebook.com/jackgordonrealtor
Make sure to comment on this post for a chance to win one of these fabulous prizes!
- 2 signed copies of the new Stewart Realty “Jack & Sara Trilogy” print anthology (U.S. ONLY)
- Audible.com downloads for each of the first 3 books in the series (available internationally)
- 1 signed print copy OR 1 eBook copy of GOOD FAITH, the critically acclaimed final novel of the Stewart Realty series (e-book available internationally, print is U.S. only)
- 1 Stewart Realty SWAG PACK complete with “I heart Ann Arbor mug” (U.S. only) and more!