I have the pleasure of sharing a post from the delightfully frank Liz Crowe...
Cheetos Dust & Beer Burps…or The Liz Writing Process
by Liz Crowe
It has been said by more than one wise person that being an author (or artist or musician) is one of the toughest jobs around. There are all sorts of quote-ables to support this assertion:
Write Drunk. Edit Sober.—Papa Hemingway (one of my favorites.)
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you—Maya Angelou
Every writer I know has trouble writing—Joseph Heller
A person is a fool to become a writer. He has no master except his own soul and that I am sure is why he does it.—Roald Dahl
If I waited for perfection, I’d never write a word.—Margaret Atwood (my personal hero)
Easy reading is damn hard writing.—Nathaniel Hawthorne
This is how you do it. You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy. And that hard.—Neil Gaiman
You get the idea.
Writing a book is done alone, many times in the dark early morning or late night hours. It is an agonizing process by which you simply give messy birth to a bunch of humans and an entire story, then toss them into the universe to be judged.
It makes you fat—or at least it did me, until I realized that all those empty cheez-it bags and beer bottles littering the table around my laptop had been made that way by me and I barely recalled consuming any of them.
It gives you headaches—both literal and figurative.
It turns you into a zombie—or at least that’s what happens to me because I write in the unhealthiest way possible. I circle the laptop as I gather the threads of a story in my brain. When my eyes glaze over and my fingers start itching to begin tapping, I open said laptop and disappear into it, only to emerge, blinking like a vole in the flashlight when dragged out. But it’s my method and it’s worked so far so I’m sticking with it.
It does turn me into a blinking, headache-y zombie with orange cheese dust on my fingertips and a bad case of the beer burps.
But you know, it’s all worth it in the end, right? The kudos! The instant, deafening roar of reader adulation! The thousands of reviews! The national magazines (oh, and Dancing With the Stars) clamoring for “more from Liz!” The boredom of yet ANOTHER book topping the New York Times Bestseller list! The movie options! The…
More like begging for reviews. Scheduling and paying for the blog tours. Taking the Bookbub rejection (again). Setting up and chattering like a goofball in all the facebook parties and twitter take-overs. All the stuff that feels more and more like the proverbial “falling tree—empty forest—who cares—no one, that’s who” conundrum with every book I write (read: Birth, painfully and with lots of blood and cheese dust). While all the OTHER authors, of course, are doing all that stuff in the paragraph up there instead of me.
Depressing AF, as my teenager would say.
I read recently (and this is in NO WAY meant to reflect actual numbers but I know they’re right so just go with me, ok?) that there were over 1,000,000 (that’s a million) non-traditionally published books (“indie” to me and thee) released in a recent year. Do the math. That is a staggering 2,738.72603 books release PER DAY. Do what you will with those decimal point books but the point is that there is a metric ton of books dumped on the reading public every single day and you know there are only so many hours in said day and only so much disposable income per said reader.
Ergo: Book Release Fatigue.
I get it. I feel it sometimes with books from my go-to authors. Crank out another one seems to be the method du jour and I’ve experienced disappointment with some those go-to authors with books that feel, well, “cranked out.”
But, honestly, all that really ought not to apply to me. I am a special snowflake and all MY efforts must be much more earnest than the other 2,737 books that got released on MY release day.
Nope. I am not. And my book, as wonderful and perfect and awe-inspiring, genre-bending, genius-plotted and carefully-edited as it is, is but one of many.
Heavy sighs and hand me the liquor bottle.
The thing is, once we all grasp the reality that “consistent, ongoing, never-give-up, hard work” is probably NOT going to yield the majority of us that NYT BSA/movie option celebration thing, we are really better off.
It’s distracting to obsess and/or stalk those who are wildly more successful that you are in your chosen genre. You should be writing, instead. Why?
Because you love to write.
Trust me, these are words I share with you, grasshopper, because I have to say them to myself daily.
Ask yourself why you write. If you are like most of us, it’s because you WANT to. So don’t stop. But don’t distract yourself with pointless imaginings. Write the next book. Make it better than the last book. Don’t skip the editing. Release. Repeat. Enjoy.
I’ll be over here enjoying my nightcap: equal parts Valium, 12-year-old Scotch and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy.
by Liz Crowe
GENRE: Contemporary Erotic Romance
When wealthy brewery owner Austin Fitzgerald meets sexy saleswoman Evelyn Benedict, angry sparks fly. They seem destined to clash, until a hot hookup in a cold beer cooler changes everything.
For Austin, it's a life-altering moment that sets him on a path away from his birthright, while Evelyn must face her fears about committing to a man considered the playboy of the micro-brewing world.
The power of preconceived notions nearly tears them apart—until they meet up with brew master Ross, who opens their eyes to a deeper, even more erotic connection. But three strong personalities don’t always make for the best emotional mix and when a simple misunderstanding causes chaos, it’s up to Ross to repair the tattered shreds of their relationship.
Sensing the heat of Evelyn’s fury as he finalized another large order, he excused himself and made his way toward the restroom. The tuning-fork sensation had morphed into a dull ache centered in his gut, which steadily made its way down to his balls.
When he emerged—after splashing water on his face enough times to calm the hardening in his jeans—he almost plowed straight into her. He gripped her arms to keep her from falling and the impulses that had bounced around in his brain since the morning nearly brought him to his knees. He dropped his hands and looked away, swallowing back the urge to say something, anything, to convince her he wasn’t such a bad guy.
Her voice was flat. He took a step back, stopped only when his butt hit the wall. The space between them filled with near-visible silence, but he didn’t move.
“I don’t know how I’m doing it, but the longer we work together, the more sales I make, and the more you hate me. Clue me in here, Benedict. I thought sales were the goal of the day.” He crossed his arms, holding them close to his chest so she couldn’t gauge how shaky his hands had gotten.
She swallowed, and he watched the exquisite warm peach hue of her skin redden. Admiring the line of her neck, her jaw, the plump fullness of her lower lip as she bit it, a nervous tic he’d love to come to love, if she’d let him, Austin sensed himself falling deeper into a very scary hole. Her ongoing silence took on a life of its own.
“Well? I left my secret-sales-goal decoder ring at home. You obviously have a different agenda for today. I get it. ‘Prove to the rich boy he doesn’t have what it takes’ is fine, but we could have saved some time if you’d just told me first.”
She opened her lips, then pressed them together and shouldered past him. He watched, fascinated, as his hand reached out of its own accord and snagged her arm. She stopped, stared at it, then up at him. When he realized the blue of her eyes was brighter because of tears, he hesitated. Female tears always unnerved him, but his chest tightened in a thoroughly alarming way at the thought of having caused her unhappiness.
He let go. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
In a split second, her beautiful face was within inches of his. “Don’t flatter yourself. I’m just pissed off. You’ve had that effect on me since I first laid eyes on you, so yeah, I guess I set you up. But apparently, all your country-club, private-school time has been worth it. Bullshitting comes naturally to you. And that’s all this job is. A whole barrel of bullshit.”
She stomped away before he could speak or, even better, grab her and kiss her. The space she vacated quivered with anger. But her crisp perfume stayed in his nose and he had to clench his hands into fists to keep from shoving her up against the wall and kissing her until she saw it his way.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
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 at 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.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.