In Praise of Hans
Hans is my muse. He is a typical German–tall, blond, and organized to a fault. He can keep many details in his lovely noggin up to and including the various connections and cross connections of the characters in the Stewart Realty series. (He resembles Chris Evans…when he’s blond)
Now that said, the Stewart Realty series has become a bit of a sprawler. That is to say the first 10 years between Floor Time and Closing Costs (the first 3 books) are truly only the beginning. Because of that I have had to count on the eagle eye of various editing passes to find timeline blips and other issues.
I am the worst sort of “pantser” (I write by the seat of my pants, in other words, without story mapping or character descriptions early). I head write a lot, coming up with plot arcs and key scenes while doing other stuff then when I can and am ready just sit down, open up a fresh document and start pouring it onto the screen. I am of the “your first draft is always shit Papa Hemmingway” school of thought of course, which allows me to do the pouring without a whole lot of self editing as I go. If I try to do that it stifles me I have found so I just sit and write and write and write until the story ends.
The 4th book of the Stewart Realty series (Essence of Time) more or less wrote itself, flowing nicely from start to finish in three sections. I love it when that happens. Because it doesn’t always. But by re-telling the original 3 books from a completely outside point of view (and going back even farther to capture days before Jack meeting Sara) I did create some headaches for myself and editors with regard to continuity. It required an extra special careful editing process, designed JUST To capture potential contradictory plot issues after the first content and line passes were done.
With Escalation Clause (book 6 that just released) it was the same thing. Hans did his bit and allowed me to flow it more or less from memory with regard to various details. But this book goes way back at first, then to present day post-Essence of Time tragedy, then jumps back again to capture Jack’s sister’s story. Once I get back to present day with everyone, there are kids involved. Kids that were specific ages when certain events occurred in previous books. Yeah, that took some sorting and extrapolation and research. But my publisher is very supportive and we got another meticulous fan to go back and find some of the dates where I named ages in order to maintain timeline and age continuity in this next book.
In short, it is not easy, crafting “epic sagas” like this. But I love it. And I hope you do too.
Remember: Escalation Clause is NOT meant to be a stand alone novel. If you jump in and read it without the other 5 you are missing a lot of the nuts and bolts of the story. Never fear! The early books are award winning and best selling and I do not think you will be disappointed.
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.
Amazon Series – http://tinyurl.com/amzsrseries
B&N Series – http://tinyurl.com/bnnsrseries
ARe Series – http://tinyurl.com/aresrseries
Escalation Clause (pre-order link – Allromanceebook.com) – http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-escalationclause-923040-148.html
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.
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.
COMMENT TO WIN!
Liz will be awarding prizes to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour: a signed copy of the new release (either ebook or print); $100 Amazon gift card; and a gift of Stewart Realty (Zazzle) swag of choice.
Make sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/09/virtual-book-tour-escalation-clause-by.html