Greetings Wenchie Acolytes and welcome to the very first A2 Beer Wench post that will allow me to be OUT OF THE CLOSET! Woo hoo! I feel so free and breezy and ... oh...sorry...forgot my pants.
There, now. That's better.
So, you ask, dear and gentle craft beer fan "what closet, Liz? And can we watch?"
And to that I say: "The author closet, ya perv. And yeah, I want you to watch."
The deal is, while I was doing a bunch of work to help out some folks get their brand new brewery up and running I was still writing books. The irony was, about the same time as all my long hours, leaving my family to fend for themselves in favor of brewery work began to pay off and allow said folks to hire professional bartenders and managers to do the jobs they are best at---the book thing took off too.
This was not intentional on my part, all rumors to the contrary.
No, it was a lovely, serendipitous event to my mind which allowed me to extend my reach in two unique directions. I brought my book fans into their bar and made beer fans out of some. And, in a few cases, did the reverse--made book fans out of people I convinced to come in and try the beer.
Kinda cool or so I thought. But some people thought otherwise and since May I have been free as the proverbial bird (not the middle finger kind, at least not anymore) to really focus on writing and promoting my books. I've got 20+ of them out there and more coming that include a series I'm self-publishing which is a pretty scary and somewhat surprisingly expensive endeavor.
As I have worked my way through resuming my life as wife, mother, friend and (now) author in these past few months I've had some time to ponder the twin tracks of snobbery relative to "books" and "beer." They dovetailed for me some in my former, confused life. Like when I was asked to host a "book event" at a "major Ann Arbor employer" and was quickly cut off by a comment from a guy I thought I trusted along the lines of "but, you know what KIND of books she writes, right?"
Yeah, the kind of books people buy, but never mind that now or the fact that said "book event" will likely now never materialize I suppose.
No, today's observation
Here's the thing: when I was drawn into the Craft Beer World and encouraged/asked to leave my real estate job to work just as hard for someone else's dream, I was NOT a beer person. Not at all. In fact, I, your A2 Beer Wench Her Own Self, did NOT really know the difference between a lager and an ale.
There. I said it. So....are you judging me yet? Hold off a second. It only gets better.
There I sat, being told "gosh, E.T. you're super-duper swell at selling stuff and we need that. Don't worry, we will teach you about beer," and thinking "um, why? I don't even (wait for it) like beer."
The rest of that story is, sadly, history as we all now know. And I've been tempted to post rants about how having to scroll back through literally thousands of photos I took at events for years makes me want to run my fist through the drywall. But I just felt it was time to set the record straight on a few things. I did not like beer. Mainly because I had not been properly introduced to really good beer. I was, subsequently, and now I adore ... certain styles of beer. Not all beers. Not even close. And some of them...well....let's just say maybe I WANT my super light lager served in a urine sample cup.
Now you can start judging me, I guess because what I like are some of the more overdone, overwrought and over exposed styles around: I like yellow, fizzy lagers and I like a basic, American style IPA.
Whew....I tell ya, the Beer World may have just imploded with the triple impact of those paragraphs up there. But the interesting parallel is that I also like to read mainstream fiction--the kind that everybody reads more or less and, even though my beloved ex-nun of a hardcore English Literature advisor at the University of Louisville is likely flipping around in her grave over it, I enjoy a well-crafted novel about human relationships that include ALL aspects of said relationship.
Let me rephrase that: I like novels about love. That many times leave in the sex bits. I don't like neat and tidy endings or cardboard characters though so I'm many times at a loss to find decent options (and that utterly precludes the whole "50 shades" phenomenon--sorry, I found the first 5 chapters of that book utterly frustrating so I stopped reading it. My choice. Not yours. I don't care how many early tickets to the movie you bought--that's your disposable income, not mine and I respect your right to spend it how you like). Oh, I also like Jack Reacher and pretty much everything Stephen King has ever written.
Oh My God.....ok I gotta sit down a second. I am so relieved to have all that off my chest.
Because you should know now that I write books that include stories about human relationships. Sometimes they include large casts of supporting characters and years-long plot arcs. Sometimes they include the sex--explicit or implied. Many times, they don't.
I have argued before that there is "romance" in almost every single novel or movie/tv plot out there. Seen "The Walking Dead" lately? We are hardwired to be attracted to one another, period. And I am entertained by reading about the ways people act on their attractions be it explicit, illicit or sappy. Sue me. I could put "Love, Actually" on a repeat loop and never get tired of it.
The snobbery on both sides of my life sometimes leaves me cold. "Indie" bookstores in my own city who say "we don't sell your kind of books," or authors who won't acknowledge that what I write is just as challenging, interesting and readable and what they do abound. It's beyond frustrating, telling someone I have "20 books published" only to be informed that they aren't "real" because they can't be purchased at whatever snooty bookstore is telling me they won't sell me at. (apologies to my editor for that one, I can't write it any other way, honest). To which I say, "they're in the Ann Arbor Library, bitch." Not really. But they are there. Just fyi.
So...if there are any of you left out there know this:
I love craft beer and almost all the people I have met who make it. I will continue to write about it, both using it as backdrop for future novels and in non-fiction form. I have a book in the early stages of development about The Ale Wife: The Witchy History of Women in Beer I hope to sell to a bigger publisher eventually--or what the hell, I might just publish it myself.
I will continue to review beers I try in different parts of the country. North Carolina, I'm headed YOUR way next week. I will continue to interact with all the awesome women in the Detroit Draft Divas and the new Michigan Fermenta group and to offer assistance/advice to any brewery seeking a little Wenchiness in their marketing plans. And to hang around with some of my beer favs like David Bardallis (who is doubling as a proofreader for me, so there).
But if any of you out there are seeking books with a sexy edge, fully realized characters AND plots, some set in (gasp!) The Craft Beer World and many/most in Michigan towns like Ann Arbor and Traverse City, I would encourage you to try on a "Liz Crowe" book for size. See how you feel about it. Drop me a line about your experience. Tell me any ideas you might have for books set in breweries....seriously! I want to know. I will admit to being stuck in "professional rookie mode" and always eager to learn more about this craft AND the craft of beer--sans snobs in both of those clubs, thanks.
I'm feeling so positive about outing myself and going full frontal with you kids I'm gonna give away a few ebook copies.....Of course I don't write horror, fantasy, or thrillers (yet...give me time on that one) so if those are more your reading bag, no need to grab one of my books. I get ya and know you love me anyways.
If you leave me a comment below about anything, the price of gold, the weather, your favorite beer, your favorite Wench memory or how you feel about 50 Shades (not really, I'll delete those) AND include your email (that bit's important) I will send you YOUR CHOICE OF A LIZ CROWE EBOOK just to get you going on your local-author-beer-wench-supporting journey. If you have questions about any of my books, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey, did ya know? I even have a book cover designed by Brian Walline, who has done plenty of beer related graphics for me in the past! This books is...um...pretty steamy though so....it might be one you work up to, k?
Now get on out there and make this first-feeling day of Winter in the Deuce a good one, won't you? And never, discount Indie, be it an indie band, indie brewery or indie author. But be sure and ask your local "indie bookstore" to support us, won't ya?
Tell 'em Taylor! My current mis-understand, poor-little-talented-girl heroine at the moment (at least for THIS song... pardon me, I gotta shake it off)
Liz/ET/Your Favorite Love Actually Loving WENCH
p.s. Be sure and get out on Monday 11/17 and support Patti Smith, the talented blogger and Ann Arborite at her first book signing in aut/space in Braun Court! I'll be there!
p.p.s. Harry Dolan, another Ann Arbor author is reading and signing at Nicola's Books the same evening. I'm figuring out a way to hit both! Thanks to Hart Johnson for that heads up!
p.p.s. Anyone insulted or put off by dudes like these (I love me the Cock Rockin' Kings of Tampa), best steer clear.
But rest assured, one thing I DON'T do is judge YOU and your obsessions. And Mr. Wench tolerates it so honestly, that should be enough for you.