Damn it's Hot....so I'm reviving one of the more popular Books, Beer & More posts before I collapse under a ceiling fan and wish for fall.....enjoy!
I'm taking a moment to channel one of my all time favorite comediennes and personalities so as to capture your attention…because Liz haz a confession to make….
But not until you take a second and let me make my confession. It's been a long time coming, about 6 years to be exact, from the moment I received my very first email that contained the words "We would like to publish your…." to just about right now.
You see, I'm jealous.
Yep. I am.
I know we've discussed this before and you think "Oh Liz, spare me your tiring lectures about how not to be a jealous whiny baby on Facebook. We GET it already. Pass us a beer."
But I would say to you, hold up a sec and let me finish.
I am really envious of all you serious romance writers out there. You guys are utterly badass and I truly envy your abilities and talents not to mention your fan bases.
Let me give you a little history. Before about 2005 or so I had never read a book in the "romance" genre before. But, in an attempt to do a little "marriage revival" Mr. Wench ordered up a bunch, all of them on the Way Sexy side of the book shelf, from the 'Zon that arrived on my doorstep much to my surprise. I'm a voracious reader as most authors are but I simply never considered books with half nekkid people on the front of them as "options" I wanted to spend time on.
Yes, the books accomplished Mr. Wench's goal but they went a step further. They finally got me off my "I'll write a book someday" high horse and got me writing. I wanted to craft stories that focused a bright light on relationships like some of my early favs did. Several of the books I read were published by a future publisher of my own, but that, as they say, is a whole 'nother
I read some really great books and some really horrendous ones and along the way came up with a concept for a series that, after being multiply rejected and pondered for self publishing (which I am SO glad I did NOT do at THAT stage of my fledgling career) found a home with a small but determined publisher: Tri Destiny.
I had a few things published before that, including several books I have since made "no longer available" (see: THAT stage of my career--the one where I thought I was the shit only to realize I needed about 6 more weeks of editing work). I collected my fair share of agent rejections, with good reason as the crap I sent them wasn't worth the digital paper I put it on.
But somehow…something eluded me, no matter how much I got edited by fabulous, patient, yet firm editors. And I think I get it now!
I just can't do it.
I can't write romance.
Now, we'll save the long drawn-outs about "what is romance/what is erotica" for someone else to get all red-faced about. I'm not here to diss ANYTHING about this genre. It is a literary juggernaut that draws millions of readers and fans and allows tons of earnest, eager writers to live the dream: Making Money Doing What You Love.
The success stories are myriad, but of course there are still thousands toiling away, trying to Do What The Big Girls Do, and managing to eke out a few bucks a month at it. Say what will about the "thriller genre," in my humble, observatory opinion no fans get fired up about their favorite books quite like romance readers--which has been both good and bad for yours truly.
I'm among those who volley between "eking it out" and "jumping up and down and scheduling a facial" when it's royalty payment time (but for That Book with That Publisher, but as we have already established: whole 'nother story).
But I will be damned if I can write a decent romance novel. I really wish I could. I know I'd have more fans, more squees, more facials, all of the above. But I sit down to write something that might resemble any one of the successful romance novels out there and I just get all…dysfunctional.
I could blame the beer, but I won't.
I'm just screwed up enough to admit it: I'm too cynical to be able to conjure much in the way of "happily ever afters." I tried. I really, really tried. A bunch of times. Phrases like "this doesn't fit what our readers want" clanged around in my head for quite some time but I kept on trying only to come to the conclusion that I just don't have the skills. And a tip of the hat to the amazing(ly snarky) advice of Kristen Lamb to help me just embrace this fact. If you, as a writer or future writer follow no other blogs about writing, you should follow hers.
Let's put it this way, when I set out to write my first self published series (The Love Brothers, coming January and March 2015) my goal was to Just Do It. Just write the dang novel that had elements of realism (the "Liz-ness" as one of my fans put it) but that gave readers what THEY want…characters and endings they expect. Because as I read somewhere in some advice blog or another, letting go of making the book what YOU want and making it what READERS want is the key to millionaire-ism…well, at to least garnering more fans.
But…you know, those dang narratives started sliding off the romance rails too and before I knew it, I had (have) 3 books in various stages of editing that will be "categorized" by the Great Categorizer In The Sky (a.k.a. "Amazon") as Romance but also as Family Saga. And I'm preparing myself for another onslaught of new readers who feel cheated and pissed off and have no problem letting me know that because my characters and plots don't do what they expected they would do.
I use the tagline: Romance For Real Life to describe my books a lot which is apt, but there are still readers who claim that the "R word" should be no where near my books, which leaves me with a real conundrum. I don't have an agent or a big publisher to help me push the books out there as "mainstream" with elements of romance and humor and…well…beer. So I'm going up on my Welcome to October Confessional and just saying it now: if you want a book you can predict, I'd advise you not to read mine.
BUT if you enjoy something that will challenge your expectation and PINKY PROMISE not to judge any of my books against the standard set by so many great romance authors, well….I've got 20 or so books for you to choose from.
As an aside, as I was trying to come up with a catchy catch-phrase for my self published books I thoughts of:
Romance on Training Wheels (nope)
Romance that Needs a Breathalyzer Test (double nope)
Not Your Mama's Romance (uh, no)
Beer Goggles Romance (uh-uh although I am riffing on that with a monthly post called "Beer Goggle Book Reviews")
Whew. I feel better. Again, let me be 100% clear: I WISH I could write romance. I wish I could conjure characters and worlds that millions of readers flock to and turn into TV series and movies. These writers are amazing, talented, prolific, and savvy. It's a club I would love to join but I just don't have the creds.
So by way of ending my confessional, I would invite you to try something for me. GOOD FAITH is (ostensibly) the final stand alone novel of the Stewart Realty Series--a book that is a "best seller" in (go figure) Family Saga and (somehow) Urban Fiction. It has a mixed bag of hardcore, stalwart fans, many of whom are also giant fans of The Giants in Romance. But this novel contains so many elements I could easily categorize it as
New Adult, Multi Generational, Family Saga with Elements of Romance and a Serious Dose of Eroticism (not Erotica---some of the sex in this book is "awkward" and decidedly not "sexy" but it is real and there is NO rape or any of that nastiness). It's about mature marriages, challenging teenagers, addiction and the strength of friendships in the face of all of the above.
Yeah. You see that the 'Zon has no category for this.
But, by way of "give it a try," it's ONLY .99 (for 520+ pages) until my birthday on December 17 of this year. If I reach a pretty modest milestone of 1000 copies sold by that date my hardcore fans get a sequel. You'll see for yourself that you can easily read this and ONLY this as part of your "Stewart Realty experience." But it's the 9th book (including a prequel) of the series and while I wrote to be a stand alone, your experience with these multi-dimensional (read: sometimes annoying and rant-inducing) characters will be richer if you grab it now for a buck then snag the others and read them in order.
*****YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE READ ANY OF THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES TO APPRECIATE THIS NOVEL I PINKY PROMISE****
Forget the rules...
Forget the formula...
Pick up a Liz Book, grab a craft beer, and enjoy the ride!
Now **cracks knuckles** on with the contest.
Please, feel free to read a free chapter by clicking here.
I'm giving away a Kindle Fire loaded with Liz books, gift certificates and ebooks to celebrate this, Liz's Month of Confession!
Play along here:
And remember….park those expectations at the door BUT know this novel is meant for adults, or the adult-minded anyway (I read Valley of the Dolls at 16 myself).
And my challenge to you: if you have a cool tag line or an idea about how to categorize Liz Books for Successful and Easy Marketing, feel free to email me! And once you do jump into pool of Stewart Realty and start swimming around, feel free to reach out and let me know what you think. I am also real happy to share a list of my favorite books and authors, some of whom may not be "romance genre" categorized but contain some of the most romantic stories ever.
BUY IT NOW!
Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.
Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.
Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.
With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.
Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.
Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.
Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.
As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”
Get this full-length compelling novel for only .99 for a limited time!
GOOD FAITH BUY LINKS