Welcome to the beautiful, new, improved cover for one of the HOTTEST Liz books going...




Yes, VEGAS MIRACLE, one of my 4 "m/m/f menage romances" (or as I like to call them "fantasies") is re-releasing on May 5 with a fresh new look.

Honest to goodness you will NOT want to miss this!  

Ryan and Grace Sullivan have all the outward indications of a happy life: money, success, an undeniable physical attraction that quickly evolved from whirlwind relationship to marriage. But lately, Ryan's become moody and distant. As their relationship starts to crumble, Ryan discovers something about himself he can't admit just as Grace realizes the young man she encounters at an invitation only party, Henri Christophe, a celebrity chef with the most successful restaurant in Las Vegas, is her husband's lover. But Henri holds a secret himself. He wants to be more to both of them.

As they attempt to make their unconventional arrangement work, Ryan's deep-seated fear of relationship failure continues to thwart everyone's happiness. When he finally walks away instead of confronting the emotional connection the trio shares, he returns to find their lives flipped inside out. A sought after hotel and resort consultant, Ryan has yet to meet a problem he couldn't solve. But when it comes to his own heart, he may be too late.







And because I can, an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT Rated NC17/NSFW.....

She let herself be led across the room, the woman’s arm through hers. Aware of activity behind the filmy curtains, Grace gulped at her drink, hoping it would calm her nerves. As she became more aware of what exactly was going on behind the curtains they kept passing, Grace gasped and clutched at the woman’s arm. Ryan caught up with her then, taking her glass and putting her other arm through his. Bracketed on either side, she let herself be led out of the large room into a wide, plush hallway. 
Beautiful people were draped around on leather furniture, some were kissing, some were drinking, but all were completely naked. Grace gaped at them, feeling like a naïve voyeur. She tried to avert her eyes but they refused to cooperate and took to darting around instead, trying to process everything. Ryan squeezed her hand as they made their way down the hall, the music still pulsing through the place but more muted back there.
 The beautiful creatures in the hall were now following them as her husband stopped and knocked on a dark walnut door. It swung open, revealing a room ablaze with candles.  As Grace’s eyes adjusted to the new light, the odors of burning wax and a light, yet masculine cologne filled her nose. Ryan led the way into the room as Grace’s new female friend followed, her hand brushing against Grace’s hip and lingering there.  
"Come," the woman whispered into her ear.  "Sit here." She gestured to a love seat positioned across from a large bed draped with red and orange sheer fabric. "We'll relax together." The woman snapped her long fingers and two tall glasses of liquid appeared. "I'm Nadia," she said as she draped herself on a corner of the lounge, her eyes beckoning Grace to do the same.
Ryan walked with her over to the love seat, but positioned himself behind it, indicating Grace should sit. His smile quieted her nerves some, but her hands shook as she accepted the glass. 
As soon as she looked up, Grace saw the body on the bed. It was a man with the most perfect form Grace had ever seen, laying on his side reading a book, a dark towel positioned strategically across his hips. Glancing over at Nadia, Grace noted the lust in the woman’s eyes. Not for the vision on the bed—for her. The woman nodded towards the reclining man, indicating Grace should focus her attention there.
A figure appeared on the far side of the room. Another man clothed in dark denim jeans and nothing else, strode around to the reclining man and sat, running a hand down his shoulder to his waist, moving aside the towel. Grace tried to clench her eyes shut, but Nadia’s hand on her neck, her cool fingers brushing Grace’s skin, plus the alcohol she had in her system, kept her eyes glued on the men in front of her as a thick, hard cock was revealed an inch at a time. 
The man on the bed lay back. Grace was close enough to see his eyes darken further as he gazed at the man in jeans next to him. Blue jean man put a finger to the other’s lips, then ran it down his neck and across his pecs to his nipple before dropping further down to his picture perfect six-pack and finally to the tip of his shaft, which already glistened.
He tried to sit, to reach the sitting man’s lips, then whimpered when he got pushed back onto the bed. The man in blue jeans produced what looked to be black rope and Grace sensed her body ramp into high gear, embarrassed and thrilled at what was about to happen right in front of her. She shifted, crossing her legs, but Nadia placed a hand on one exposed knee and pulled them apart, smiling at her, not allowing Grace to press her thighs together. Ryan’s familiar hand rested on her shoulder providing a small modicum of normality.
She watched, mesmerized, as the man on the bed smiled and held his hands up over his head. The vision in blue jeans reached up and secured his wrists to a wooden bedpost. He then put a hand between the other man’s legs, forcing them apart. Tying off each ankle as well, the man in blue jeans looked straight into Grace’s eyes and smiled, sending shock waves straight into her pussy. She leaned back, breathing fast and Ryan’s other hand reached down to caress her breast as if it were the most natural thing in the world for him to fondle her in a room full of strangers as they prepared to watch two men fuck.


Wait for it....MAY 5! 
You will want to clear your reading decks for this one!


Greetings and happy Monday Liz fans and others!

Today we are gonna talk about what matters.



I know, I know this is a Super Duper Important and Yet Somehow Utterly Vague Topic.

But bear with me.

You see, I've been thinking a lot about my journey as an author and how at various stages I've felt proud, frustrated, elated, horrified, happy, miserable many times all of these things at once. Writer's have giant egos. But yet their size is in direct correlation to their frailty. We need feedback, stroking, props and more to keep us going. I know this and perversely the more books I write and the more fans I manage to rope into my somewhat unique, romance-but-not-quite-"romance" world I find I need it even more.


Kind of a lot of pressure to put on people who just enjoy reading books and have the advantage of the new digital age of easy access to authors. But yet so thrilling to open up Facebook or twitter and find someone totally new saying "I just love all your books!" 

This matters, dear ones. Never discount the power of your time and effort to seek out an author you've recently enjoyed and telling them so.

I have always been a vocal proponent both to myself and any poor newbie who thinks my advice might be worth asking to WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO READ.

This may dovetail with current trends. You may love reading dinosaur porn, or about mysterious billionaires who love to spank, or even the latest "steps" trend. Yes, this is A Thing and I'll keep my opinion to myself on it. It sells. As a marketer first, author second I respect this no matter my "ick" factor.

Or you may be like me an prefer to read about strong characters no matter how much money they have in the bank or how they got it, in situations that require them to be honest about their emotions. "Relationship fiction" I like to think of it and have called it as such. Not so much "romance" but that's another blog post, as you know.

As an author, be you raw newcomer with fingertip hovering over the "send" on that query or "publish" on your first novel or seasoned, cynical, glass-half-empty grump like myself, you owe it to yourself to write a book that you would pick up and read. 
This matters.

One of the more prolific and entertaining advice-givers out there, Kristen Lamb whose book on using social media to your advantage as an author is something you should pick up and read, put her finger on something for me that I struggled with for a while. The stage we all pass through in which we find it impossible to read a book, watch a TV show or a movie without ripping it apart in our heads, critiquing it within an inch of its life and getting red-faced pissed-off about how in the name of all holy did that piece of utter dog mess make it onto a best seller list/the screen. This is a frustrating thing and something I still struggle with but less so, now that I understand what matters.

What matters is that you understand story structure, plotting and characterization as others have put them into play. It can not only inspire you to concoct a side story from something already existing (less "fan fiction" and more "what about that intern in the law office and what's HIS story maybe I'll tell something like it") but it also helps you understand what works and what does not. The human brain is wired to accept certain things as viable, even if YOUR "viable" might be a tad different from mine (see: Liz as cynical curmudgeon). But as an Author, you take on the responsibility to be not only a consumer of your craft but a producer.


 If you thought you had the world's most amazing recipe for apple pie, but yet claimed you "never eat apple pie because that's cruel" or whatever, I would hardly consider you an expert and would give your apple pie a pass (and I rarely, if ever, give apple pie a pass). You must understand what's out there, what works for the general public (or for specific areas of it) and what doesn't (for you). Then you craft something that you would read but that has all the elements required of Your Product: pacing, plot, characterization and dialogue that you have slaved over, yes, but things slaved over are the best.

My case in point for this (and the impetus for today's highly alliterative Monday Musing) is my current Work in Progress. I am crafting a thriller novel for the first time, and read some of the more popular and best selling thrillers in order to understand pacing. I mean, I know what I'm doing, right? Well, I did until I put my hand to this thing and it got so wildly out of control thanks to my pantser tendencies I am now on version 4 of it. 

When I got back comments from an editor on it recently and we did some back-and-forth about what wasn't working for her about it I had my initial, knee-jerk "OH NO SHE D'INT" reaction.  But there I was, guilty of not understanding that if I wanted to sell this book Big Time (and I do, make no mistake) I had to get back to being a consumer. I had to understand that thriller novels are just as formula-driven as romance and it behooved me to embrace that (again) and dig deep into the manuscript (again) to coax out the first half that matched the ("near perfect" were her words and I sometimes stare at them to remind myself that not all is lost) second half of this book.

It matters when you re-work something and give it the attention it deserves. In this "hurry up and publish more and more and yet more" environment we inhabit the "let it sit and simmer and come back to it" concept is almost lost. It's a vicious circle--you publish a book or 2, make a small amount of money, gain a few fans and you feel that you must push out the next one fast. While on some levels this is the case because frankly, unless you're promoting something new in this crazy publishing world you might as well be banging your cowbell in an empty room. On the other hand, I'm smack in the middle of something that I thought I could rush and have found that I simply cannot and should not. 

Hopefully by the end of this frustrating horrible useful process I will have a book that will be what I want it to be: The Liz Crowe Breakthrough Novel that drives everyone to my 20+ book backlist--that will get me noticed and turn into a movie but you know, every author wants that. 

But what matters really? That as an author I have matured to the point where I know letting it simmer and stew and get better via revisions is just as viable a process as my previously acclaimed "marathon writing" sessions. These sessions have produced the vast majority of my books so far and I anticipate they will again but this time, this book needs to "age" and I'm letting it.


Because It Matters.


Random Promotional Update:

LOVE BREWING, the novel about Love Brother number 3 Dominic is on sale for a few  days this week over at the 'Zon.  It's part of the "Kindle Countdown Deal" so keep checking back to see how low the price will go. In keeping with my "Romance. Worth the Risk" motto, this novel delves into Dominic's past (the bad boy brother that fans were dying to read about) and is in part "new adult," but also a realistic look at manic depression and how it affects the depressed but also everyone around them.  Snag your copy for a buck for the next 3 days.




VEGAS MIRACLE, one the hottest books I've written, is slated for a re-release under a lovely new cover. Click here if you're a blogger and want in on the cover reveal/release day/ARC reading action! 

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything.

I do NOT cry at movies. This one made me bawl, and not because I'm sad that Stephen Hawking is an amazing human being and got a raw deal, physically. But because of the Real Life Love Story--one where people try and fail and try again. And while not everyone ends up with the person they started with (and loved, whole heartedly) they do end up happy. I've walked around in a bit of a daze all weekend, pondering this movie's awesomeness. It was subtle. There were no hot 'n heavy hookups between people who were not married to each other. But there was real desire, shown in a glance, or an expression that trumps EVERY SINGLE EXPLICIT SCENE I HAVE EVER SEEN OR READ YET.




Easter weekend has arrived at last...or "again" depending on your perspective and attitude about it.

For me, it's a bittersweet time of year. Having grown up "in the church" if you will--daughter of a minister whose family's weekend in a small town revolved around what time you got up and ready for Sunday service, during which you were likely pondering that delicious Sunday lunch--Easter weekend was Kind of a Big Deal.

It was full-frontal baskets from The Bunny stuffed with candy and many times small gifts, painted eggs to find around the yard or house, pretty corsages for the women to wear, a fancier than usual post-service lunch after the entire congregation gamely gave it their all for Handel's Hallelujah chorus at the end of an inspiring "He Is Risen" (now quit your bitching and do something positive) style message.

I'll admit I've been lax about these various practices (including the "going to church on Sunday" one that many times I regret for various reasons). Living overseas for so many years with toddlers and newborns wasn't really conducive to the egg-hunt, prezzies in a basket tradition although I did try, up to an including the year I literally forgot to set out the baskets I had purchased in England after drinking way too much the night before, for reasons that are better left to The Imminent Liz Memoir (tentative title: "Headache Pay").

But I will always and forever have fond memories of Sundays spent in the pews, smelling the corsage, anticipating the ham and homemade rolls (with a Cadbury Egg chaser) and, above all for me, the glorious music I associate with my time as a church-goer. Unfortunately, an Easter weekend was also the final time I heard my father's voice--on the phone, breathy, and telling me he was "fine" but he wanted to talk to me as I was trying to navigate the kids around a spring break trip to Sanibel Island.

No, I was not overly close to my father. If anything we spent plenty of years estranged thanks to choices he made regarding his marriage to my mother and his tendency to judge first and screw you if you disagreed with him (ok, stop already I know I get it from him). 

But every year about this time I recall that phone call. I can practically taste my impatience with him, with his need to "interrupt" my long-needed vacation (such as it was with 3 kids along) but also with the absolute and final moment of panic I felt when I hung up.

I never spoke to him again. There was an infection in the artificial valve of his heart that went too long misdiagnosed as something else. I saw him, hooked up to a ventilator that--if you have never seen someone hooked up to a ventilator in REAL life was the most awful thing ever and that will never fade no matter how many years insert themselves between that day and this one. But he never woke to judge me, or to sing to me, or to listen to me ever again.

Whether you realize it or not (and if you are a Liz fan you have heard this so many times it's getting a little broken-record-ish) I an rounding the corner on the first anniversary of the most personally devastating event of my almost 50 years on this rock. When I woke up this morning, Good Friday--the day all seemed lost thousands of years ago in a Really Great Story, or in the history of a major religion, however you regard it--the first thing I thought about was my dad. The keen regret I still experience at not listening to him on the phone all those years ago, at not packing up my kids and hightailing it to Lexington the moment after I hung up, never really lessens.

The second thing was the usual "this time last year" thing that my mind tends to do to me lately, reminding me of various missteps, mistakes and hopefully a few decent decisions I've made the the twelve intervening months between that day and this. 

I'm blessed to still have my mom with me (and likely reading this now). She retired and get herself up to Michigan several years ago, has made a whole passel of new friends (as she does) and has been invaluable as I work my way through various career changes and choices, providing rides for pre-driving kids, meals that are some of the only times we are all around the table together as a group and a general sounding board (and drinking buddy).

But this time of year never fails to put me in mind of the parent I lost, of the large voice the world lost, and how much I'm reminded to value the time you're given with those you love.

Agent Update: 2 fresh rejections but that manuscript is getting a do-over so I'll stop submitting it and will no longer be subjecting you to this depressing little line of the weekly Liz Musings.

WIP Status: Editing this week, Hat Trick, book 4 of the Black Jack Gentlemen, my fictional Detroit soccer series. Diving into FAMILY LOVE, book 4 of The Love Brothers, a series that is really picking up steam amongst readers eager for a unique plot and set of characters. I am really really really super duper excited about this book as it will be a "novel within a novel" project--something I've never tried.

COACH LOVE IS STILL FREE THROUGH SATURDAY on Amazon! Snag it, read it, and get hooked.

Spring Break Plans: headed out for a college visit, then it's full on "get that damn house ready to move into and stop f*cking around with it!"

Thanks for bearing with me during my annual Easter Weekend Guilt Trip. But as much of a downer as all that is, I'm still enough of a "church going child" to feel uplifted by the thought of "He is Risen" (now get off your ass and do something to make Him proud!).


cheers
Liz


p.s. Dear Izzo,



Don't Miss Brenda's Kindle Fire giveaway 
at the bottom of the post!



THIS HEART OF MINE
by Brenda Novak

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

4.5 Stars TOP PICK from RT Book Reviews!
First love. Second chance?

As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next.

Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob’s father isn’t exactly welcoming.

Riley doesn’t trust Phoenix, doesn’t want her in Jacob’s life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he’s about to find both!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Excerpt:

Once again, Phoenix’s eyes were riveted on her son. Only this time, she felt such a surge of emotion she almost darted into the bathroom. She could not break down.

Please, God, don’t let me cry. He won’t come within ten feet of me if I do.

But the harder she tried to hold back her tears, the more overwhelmed she became. In a panic, she slipped around the corner, into the small alcove by the bathrooms, and leaned her head against the wall.

Breathe. Don’t blow this.

The bell over the door jingled, telling her that Riley and Jacob had stepped inside. She imagined them looking around, maybe getting annoyed when they didn’t find her. But she was frozen in place. She absolutely could. Not. Move.

“Hey,” she heard the hostess say with a familiarity that hadn’t been present in her greeting to Phoenix. “We’re busy this morning, like we are every Saturday. But if you can wait for a few minutes, I’ll get you a table.”

“We’re actually meeting someone who should be here.”

That had to be Riley, but Phoenix couldn’t say she recognized his voice. Her memories of him were vivid. But they’d both been so young, and he’d changed a great deal. No longer the skinny teenager she’d known in high school, he was a man with plenty of hard muscle on his solid frame, a man in his prime, and that had been more than apparent as she’d watched him walk, shoulder to shoulder, with their son a few seconds earlier.

“Who are you here to meet?” the hostess asked.

“Name’s Phoenix Fuller,” came his response.

“What does she look like?”

“I’m not sure these days,” he said, and Phoenix winced. Her shoulder-length dark hair wasn’t bad. It was thick, probably her best asset. Her hazel eyes weren’t unattractive, either. She didn’t feel she was ugly. But the scars on her face would be new to him. She hadn’t had those when she went to prison.

“She wasn’t very tall,” he added, as if that might be the only detail still applicable.

“There was a woman who said she was expecting two more to join her,” the hostess said. “But I don’t know where she went…”


Determined not to miss this opportunity after waiting so long for it, Phoenix curved her fingernails into her palms, took a deep breath and stepped around the corner. “Sorry I…I had to wash my hands.”



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.4 million. For more about Brenda, please visit www.brendanovak.com.









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