Why Are You Here Anyway?

Welcome to the Wench's World--the A2 Beer Wench to be exact. I once owned a brewery. Also once learned a lesson from that! If you've stumbled upon me, cool. What follows may or may not be directly related to real estate, the publishing biz, craft beer, Ann Arbor, or sports, but it sure will be fun and many times profane as the circumstances warrant! Enjoy (or not) at your own risk!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Facebook Yardstick

I made a Facebook post at some point last week that was a heartfelt question:

“Figuring out the meaning of one’s own ‘success’ is one of the hardest things about being on Facebook isn’t it?”

Now, this could be taken as a direct contradiction of one of my earlier Liz Rules: No Whining On Facebook. It’s Boring. And Makes People Hate You.

But I was asking a serious question, not humble-bragging or, worse, compliment-fishing, or even more worse (?) sympathy-baiting. I was serious. Just how does one gauge one’s success in the face of what would appear to be a daily barrage of facts that prove everyone on the planet in your business is way better and more successful at it than you are?




When I think back a mere 5 years to my former, more wide-eyed, less cynical author self, I had but a few goals: get a publisher, maybe two. Get my name on some books available for readers to buy and enjoy. The end.

Well, I got those things, including what I considered to be my “ultimate target publisher.”  I got them through hard work, learning “how” to “be edited” (a skill that one must learn if one is to be serious as an author). I also had a nice-sized fan group on Facebook, many thousands of fans and followers on other networking sites, and people actually approaching me online to ask about my books, my characters, my upcoming releases.

A buzz, right?

Right.

Did I consider myself “successful?”

No.

So I kept writing. And I opened myself up to what was actually going on in my industry and in this genre I’d chosen to write into (romance). Before this, I considered myself fairly blinkered, kind of like a race horse, focused forward only, not allowing the progression of my fellow equally fast equine buddies to distract me. It was a good place to be, I now admit. But a naïve place as well. The good and bad of being fully cognizant of your competition as an author are so intertwined, at times, you might mistake them for each other.


But allow me to explain (or try, in my usual, highly entertaining fashion). In any business, it pays to know the competition. I used to own and market a craft brewery and bar so I made it my sole business to do just that. I knew what others were brewing, what sort of food, entertainment and other enticements were being used to lure drinkers from one craft brewery to the next. As the market became more and more crowded, this knowledge was even more crucial. You must know what your fellows are doing in order to do your business better. You are in competition for the discretionary income of current and future craft beer drinkers, period.

In the book writing and publishing business, it’s no different. Sure you have friends who are authors and in some circles there is a fair bit of camaraderie and friendly advice-giving. There is also a fair bit of back-biting, jealousy and sheer ugliness. We’ve all heard the stories about the authors who sic their fan-girl minions on another on Goodreads or who front load nasty reviews on Amazon for reasons that truly don’t stand the test of “adult behavior.” The power of the Big Book Blogger is also a real thing—these people can make or break you and sometimes, their criteria for “making you” is a bit of a middle-school level crap shoot.


There are plenty of examples of established authors who have a fan or two who decide to write their own books, and who may turn out to be more (sometimes much more) successful than the authors who inspired them. I’ve seen big authors go bad over this, which has cost them credibility.

The point here is, “knowing your competition” should not be something that brings you down. Understanding what others are doing right, or differently than you should inspire, not depress. Being the humans we are this is typically what happens, however. I know I do it. I take my glance around social media and after an hour or two, I’m convinced that, despite the fact that I have 30+ books in my backlist, new readers and fans every day, and a consistently growing income from my books, I’m a Giant Pile of Smelly Failure.


Because, of course, there is the Facebook Measuring Stick. The place where many of us go every day to check out who’s made a “real” best seller list, who has an expensive new cover, who’s at yet another way cool author event, who signed with an agent, who’s been given the green light on a new series for a big publisher, whose new release has hundreds of reviews and thousands of downloads inside of a day, who has managed three thousand words on their new manuscript, who’s in the editing cave, the promoting cave, the writing grotto.

I’ll admit to using the ‘Book this way myself in the past. But as I advance along what I hope is a professional trajectory for my own writing and publishing career I’ve made a few decisions about how I won’t be using it anymore. That’s not to say that when I do get seriously big, good news I won’t be announcing it. People need to know when I lose that last 20 pounds or when my last kid moves into her dorm, or when my other kids reach successful milestones in their lives—or you know, my dogs do something cool or when I find an amazing new brew I want to talk about.

But on the writing and publishing front, I now believe that continuing to gauge my own success using Facebook as a yardstick of it, is simply an exercise in frustration. I have taken steps to this end—including unfollowing folks who do nothing BUT brag (and they are out there, in force). And I’m making an effort to do less Liz Posting and more Liz Interacting with friends and inside of author help groups.


It’s given me a bit of internal peace that I needed in this crazy business, allowing me to focus on my actual goals, and not the ones I put out for public consumption. Getting to this point in my own head has forced me to think hard about how I define my own “success” as an author, and to accept that sometimes, inner peace with my own success is the best reward.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go write some words, then walk my dogs, then implement my last high school grad party!

Keep the faith! Keep writing!


And now for the shameless promo section of the blog:


Check out my 2 Kindle World Novellas, just $1.99 each!

Love: Classified (Desiree Holt's Omega Team....this one was so popular I've promised to write a sequel in 2017!)


















Marking Mariah (Susan Stoker's Operation Alpha)




Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day Book Celebration!

Labor Day Sales Blitz
Event Date: Monday, September 5, 2016

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FREE
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Maid for the Rock Star by Demelza Carlton
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2bWG6Ri
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2c1bno5

Heaven Sent by Tania Sparks
Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/2cl2BQS
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2bRi9MB

Thunderstruck by Bijou Hunter

The Fool by Liz Meldon
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1YJfXeJ



99 cents

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Untouchable by Jessika Klide

Velicious Part One: Is Sadistically & Irresistibly, Delicious!
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2bIZS6I

Back From Hell by Marissa Dobson
Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/2c0BPR9
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2bRlT0p

A Right to Remain by Beth Rinyu
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2bRqZs4

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Sara-Kate's Spirt by Natalie-Nicole Bates
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2cbwcgq

Heart of the Hunter by Natalie Nicole Bates
Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/2bLp3nF

Mina's Revenge by JM Witt
Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/2c0EbzD

Love Garage by Liz Crowe
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2cl80aN

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My Time In The Affair by Stylo Fantóme
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2c8hckY

The Celtic Fan by Deanndra Hall

Of Demons & Stones (A Tri-Stone Trilogy) by Annie L. Parks
Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2cwOZ9e










Thursday, August 25, 2016

An Open Letter to Shonda Rhimes

Ok, so there is this show.... you might have heard of it...it's called:

Grey's Anatomy.


I was always aware of it. I mean the whole "McDreamy" v. "McSteamy" thing was practically required pop culture reading for a period of time, was it not?



But I'm not a huge fan of TV series watching. Until a little something came along...called "NETFLIX."

"NETFLIX" allows you to watch binge consume TV shows in a way that makes eating an entire takeout pepperoni pizza and downing a bottle of cheap wine by yourself seem healthy.

Not that I've done this.

Ok. I have.

A lot.

But I digress.

I have watched a bunch of shows a few years too late. Until recently the most noteworthy obsession I had was with something called "Breaking Bad." I flipping could NOT stop watching that train wreck. The twisted author in me adored the way the writers would wring those characters out, hang them on the clothesline, give them a hard whap on the ass with a broom, then set them back down to resume their lives in a way that gave many mortal viewers the vapors. I am still 100% OBSESSED with the Jessie Pinkman character and the adorable actor who plays him. I was recently thrilled to discover his voice on another NETFLIX obsession of mine: BoJack Horseman. But that is for another post.

After my Breaking Bad obsession unhealthy binge experience, I sort of swore off that sort of thing. I mean, I was like a zombie--no worse than a zombie--staggering around, grabbing total strangers by the collar and asking them if they really (really) thought that Skyler was that much of a bitch,  was Marie OCD about the color purple, and if Walt was justified killing people by continuing to claim it was "for the family?"

And they were all...."lady, that was, like, seven years ago!"

I mean I get like that when I'm in the middle of writing too but this was ... eerie.

So I went a solid year and a half declaring myself free of the TV show binge thing. I watched movies and yes, I did swallow an entire season of House of Cards in one disgusting bolus but you are SUPPOSED to watch it that way. Geez.

Until this summer and Grey's Anatomy. My youngest, the afore and oft-mentioned Soccer Wenchling began this one after she watched all of The Office and Parks & Rec, 2 shows I half paid attention to as background noise. But Grey's....I'll admit to being a "doctor procedural junkie." I cut my teeth on that show "Emergency" ("ringers and lactate" all over the place on that one!) and of course the George Clooney show, a.k.a. "e.r."

But as soon as the medical background noise caught my ear on this one, I figured, what the hell. It's summer. I could use a brain rest.

I can safely say that I dropped into that world and barely emerged. I watched 12 entire seasons (#elevenyearstoolate) over the course of 2.5 months. I think I could easily snip an aneurysm while doing a liver transplant and 3-D printing an artificial heart right now, no sweat.

All in all, I was enthralled and obsessed yet again. But something about it bugged me from time to time. I mean, I have caught many rashes of shit over writing books where in the characters f*ck, cheat on each other, get back together and die. And really, were I to write my own two sentence NETFLIX blurb for this show it would be exactly that: Watch a chick with a lisp move from raw rookie intern to bossy-pants bitchy attending on show where everyone is f*cking everyone else, or cheating on their significant others, or dying.

Do not get me wrong. I LOVED it. Well, okay most of it. Which leads me to the point of this blog.

Dear Shonda Rhimes,

thank you so very (very) much for creating the Grey's Anatomy series. I was constantly entertained by the fast-moving medical drama surrounding all the f*cking, cheating and dying. Also, well done on creating such an ingrained iconoclast name and locale with all those location-setting shots ("Grey's" and "Seattle"). There was an entire kingdom of marginal erotic fiction built on those easily recognizable two things. I hope you got a cut of it.

But no, really, I was entertained. I write that way too. We should talk. But I have a top ten list of things that bugged the crap out of me or that I loved (sometimes one and the same. See: "Christina Yang.") throughout my Summer of Grey's I want to share with you:

Liz's Top Ten Things that Consistently Bugged the Crap Out of Her/She Loved about Grey's Anatomy:

10. Get Botox for Owen Hunt. And while you're at it, write him a storyline where he is NOT getting his adorable, ginger, funky forehead-ed self shafted by some chick. Gawd. But seriously he is at his best when he's being confounded and bamboozled by the chicks in his life, am I right? 





9.  Surely amongst all breathtakingly HOT doctor/firefighter lesbians in Seattle there are two hot doctor/nurse/EMT dudes who might feature as a couple too?







8.  Speaking of lesbians: Arizona lost her leg, yes (and she screamed so loud Christina had to yell at her) but she was really beyond the pale, selfish speaking---UNTIL (until...) you made her give Sophia back. Well played. Miz Rhimes. Well played.








7.  Christina. Christina. Christina. I loved her. I hated her. I wanted to be her. I wanted to throw her out a window. I think it could have been "Yang's Anatomy" for all that. Honestly. I liked her better than Meredith.








6. Honestly, if these people ACTUALLY ATE as much as they pretended to eat, they would all (for the most part with a few notable, normally-sized exceptions and thank you for that) be bulimic. Oh. Wait. Maybe they are.







5.  Oh Lord help any patient an intern/resident/attending would fall for. Seriously it was (a somewhat predictable) Kiss Of Death. The hot guy from That Seventies Show and poor, poor, pitiful Stephanie Edwards being the most brutal of these predictable deaths. But I'll add this photo because I can't even on how annoying THAT storyline was....seriously. 







4.  MATTHEW THE HOT, VIRGINAL PARAMEDIC WITH THE KILLER PROPOSAL SKILLS.... WHAT THE EVER LOVING F*CK WAS THAT ABOUT???????? I am sorry April but you are goin' to HELL for that one. You didn't deserve a sick, dead baby but having a C-section without pain meds later? Maybe. Deal with it.











3.  I value and appreciate the legitimate dilemma you presented when Derek was ready to head to Washington at the bloody personal behest of the President of the United State of America to run his Generic Brain Research Thing. I mean, yeah, all of Meredith's "friends" (one of whom left for f*cking ZURICH) were there. Her "house" was there--who owns that house anyway? That whole Karev buying it storyline was a dead end. Her "job" was there. But I have a news flash: Her "job" at George Mason or wherever it was being arranged for her would be great. Her new life in D.C. would rival the soggy Seattle existence. And her whining about it was the most grating thing I have ever experienced in my life. Not to say she deserved losing McDreamy but, um, darlin' you looked that gift horse right in the damn mouth and he spit that semi truck right back at you.










2.  NO ONE KISSES BY GRABBING PEOPLE FACES THE WAY PEOPLE IN THIS SHOW DO. I write romance and people kiss a lot and I will never, ever, ever, EVER forget an editor saying to me:
"This guy 'cradles her face in his hands' WAY too much."  Seriously. There is too much fakey, cheesy face cradling going on at this hospital.










1. Death. Death. And more Death. Of all the horrific deaths--of children, of moms, of dads, of brothers, sisters and lovers that goes on in a busy, Level 1 Trauma facility--there was one that nearly made me stop watching. And it wasn't McSteamy (although I am a fairly reliable plot predictor and I did NOT see that coming. But I'll admit to a "good riddance" feeling to Lexi. She annoyed me. What? Sue me.) It was George O'Malley. Adorable, sick-crush-on-Meredith-rush-into-marraige-with-a-lesbian-lose-your-dad-in-your-hospital George! That was one episode that I will give the highest possible compliment one writer can give another: I wish I'd written it. It killed me. Dead.


And I have not even touched on my Official Favorite Characters:

1. Christina Mother-f*cking Yang (I hear she's coming BACK! Yay! Legit cynical selfishness returns!)
2. Alex Karev. God. He rocks. Jo does not deserve him.
3. Miranda Bailey. I wish she were my friend/sister/mom/boss
4. Owen Hunt. 'Nuff Said.
5. Callie Torrez although I know she's riding off into the sunset with that DEREK KILLER chick....



So, if someone wants to get Shonda on the phone for me, I have a bunch of books we should talk about that would make killer "Shonda And Liz Land" TV shows!

I am feeling bereft now that I don't have the comfort of my Grey+Sloane Memorial Family every night. And I understand I must WAIT like a PEASANT to watch it WEEK TO WEEK starting this fall (Gawd). So what's next? I'm thinking......Scandal. (but I see she hasn't let go of the "hands on the face kissing thing" yet. And yeah: F*cking. Cheating. Death. SIGN ME UP!!)



Love ya, LizLand Fans and others.

Cheers,
Liz