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!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Write Drunk? A Cautionary Tale

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 Hemmingway (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…

….Oh, right.

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, dear and gentle Pro Rookie acolytes, 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.

Cheers y’all,

Liz’s most recent labors of love, pain and cheese dust are Kindle World novellas. Check them out! Or not. It’s a free country.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Free Thanksgiving Romance!

Or...you know, the next best thing...


I have an entire series I offer 100% free (that's $0.00 in any currency) to subscribers to my (mostly) monthly Liz Newz and this week I uploaded the third installment: QUITCLAIM.

Here's the blurb:

Ellen's life did an amazing 360 when real estate brokerage playboy, Theo Bonfiant insisted on doing the right thing by her after a hot, unprotected hookup at their office.

After their small, elegant wedding, she spent nearly four years floating in a fantasy world where money was no object and her daughter Avery was the apple of her father's eye. But Theo has a secret--one that Ellen knew when she married him and was eager to overlook in hopes that he'd be "fine" once he had a family.

When things begin to unravel around her, Ellen takes a stand to protect her and Avery's emotional well-being--which forces Theo to face his personal demons once and for all.

QUITCLAIM is a novel of love, hope, addiction and Serious Second Chances.

And here's a little taste....

WARNING....explicit emotions below:

“Hi, is this Ellen?”
Ellen held the phone away from her ear, surprised by the voice. It was low, almost musical sounding but with a firmness of tone that sounded like someone used to being in charge. How Theo used to sound, years ago, she thought.
“Yes. Hi. This is Ellen. How can I help you?”
She’d been trained to treat every phone call from a stranger as one from a potential client. Money on the hoof, as it were.
“Oh, hey. How are you? I mean…this is Barret. Barret James.”
A long, awkward moment ensued while Ellen racked her brain trying to recall why someone named Barret James would be calling her.
Buyer? Nope.
Seller? Nope.
Contractor? Lender? Inspector?
“Hi, Barret,” she said, buying herself some time. “How are you today?”
“I’m great. Thanks.”
More super awkward silence. Ellen started pacing around her kitchen, running fingers through her hair, wishing she could have a glass of wine.
“So,” Barret James said.
“Yes,” Ellen responded, even as she winced for cutting in on him.
“Ashley said I should call you,” he said at the exact same time she said “Oh, right you must be the cop.”
He chuckled. The sound of it made her spine tingle in an entirely inappropriate way. She felt her face heat up to accompany the inappropriateness. “Yeah,” he admitted. “I’m the cop.”
“Oh, I mean … um, I don’t mean. Oh hell, I don’t know what I mean.” She grabbed a cup of cold tea and tossed it back, spluttering when it went down the wrong way.
“Do I need to send the EMTs over?”
“No, no, I’m fine.” She wiped her mouth and took a deep breath.
So, this was it. This was her, getting back into the game.
So far, so shitty.
“Good. So, Ellen,” he said, making her tingly again. “I’m calling to see if I could convince you to go out to dinner with me this weekend.”
“Uh,” she said, casting about for an excuse, feeling so un-ready for this it was borderline nauseating. “Okay.” More wincing. More wishing for wine.
“Great,” Barret said. “Would Saturday be good? I can pick you up around seven.” He sounded sure of himself. One of her favorite things about Theo.
Stop it. This is you, moving on. Get with the program.
“Sure. Thanks. Sounds…good.”
Lame. Dear Lord help her, she was so lame.
He chuckled again. Scalp tingles all around. Ellen tried not to sigh out loud. She didn’t even realize how hard up she must be. Her sex life had been beyond robust. It had been fabulous. But yet, not, at the same time, considering what she’d been denying about her husband.
Her almost ex-husband, she reminded herself. She smiled, hoping it would reflect in her voice. “Sorry, Barret. I’ve had a long day. I probably sound a little loopy.”
“Nah, it’s good,” he said. “I get it. I’ll see you Saturday, Ellen. Looking forward to it.”
“Me too,” she said. “Bye.”
She ended the call and stood for a long time, leaning against the kitchen counter clutching her cold tea cup, pondering the possibilities.

By Saturday, Avery had worked herself into an utter snit. Ellen had tried everything. Movies. TV. Ice-cream. Shopping. The promise of a kitten or a hamster or an indoor pool. Anything to get the girl to climb down off her high horse over the lack of her father in her life.
“I swear it’s like she knows I have a date or something,” she whispered into the phone to Miranda. “I don’t know what I should do. Cancel, probably.” The thought relieved and aggravated her at the same time.
“The hell you will,” Miranda insisted. “I’m sending Sawyer over now.”
“Oh, stop it. Poor guy. He doesn’t have to keep playing dad for my high maintenance daughter. It’s kind of weird.”
“No, she’s just adjusting and Sawyer doesn’t mind. He likes playing with her. It’s way easier than dealing with our almost-toddler, trust me.”
“I so don’t deserve you guys as friends.”
Miranda laughed. “Oh honey, it’s what we do, you know? We take care of each other. He’ll be there in about fifteen minutes with the latest Disney DVD and the leftover Halloween candy.”
“Thanks.” Ellen felt so grateful she couldn’t begin to express it.
“You thank me by going out with that smoking hot Smokey Bear, girlfriend. Get yourself laid. Snap off a piece. You deserve it and I think that Mr. James is in a similar relationship drought. It’s a hook-up made in heaven.”
“Jesus, Miranda, I am not going to sleep with him after one date.” But her scalp was doing that thing again and the rest of her more sensitive parts were following suit.
“Why ever not? Did you see that picture of him? Jesus.”
“Shut up. You’re married to the hottest, most amazing man on the planet. You and Chloe and Ashley all are, you fucking bitches. I should hate every single one of you. I’m the one who chose the loser.”
There was a silence. “Oh hell, Ellen. I don’t think Theo’s a loser. You know that.” Miranda’s voice was soft with regret.
“Yeah. Me neither. But, here we are. So I guess I better get myself into the shower. These hairy legs are not gonna tempt the cop, no matter how hard up he is.” She ended the call, before memories and thoughts and what-if’s kept her from this date.
She would go out and she very well might sleep with this man. She had every right in the world after all. She deserved to have some fun.
Once Sawyer had arrived, with movie and candy in hand as promised, Avery got herself settled in with him. Ellen took her shower, shaved her legs, wondered if she should worry that she’d skipped her usual monthly pussy waxing session, then yanked up a pair of somewhat utilitarian panties with a grunt of disgust at herself.
After drying and fluffing her naturally wavy hair out with her fingers, she glared at herself in the mirror. Her face was plain, round, boring. Her nose turned up ever so slightly at the end and her lips were full and shaped nicely. But otherwise she was nothing special. Except when she’d been with Theo. He had made her feel special.
“Stop it,” she said out loud to her reflection. “Get over it. Jesus.”
After distracting herself with a bit of make-up application, Ellen put on the black skirt and cream silk blouse she’d chosen, with Ashley, Miranda, and Chloe’s group help, deciding that she’d wear flats to dress it down, just in case. It had been her own fault, not asking where they were going to determine the proper outfit. After seven years married to a man who liked to surprise her with super dressy events complete with new outfits, vacations wherein her bag had been packed for her and baby care arranged, she was at loose ends, trying to figure out what to wear.
Much less how to act.
With a sudden whoosh of terror, she sat at the edge of her bed, now crammed into the small bedroom she inhabited by herself. She covered her face with her hands, concocting excuses to cancel the date.
She wasn’t ready for this. End of story.
Her phone buzzed with a text. Hey, sister, you ready for your big night? Ashley messaged.
No. I’m cancelling it.
Like hell you are. Suck it up. This is good for you.
I’m not ready for this. I can’t do it. I’m not pretty enough. I don’t even know why Theo married me.
Instead of a text, she got a call. She answered it, holding the phone away from her ear even as she said “Hello?”
“Stop talking like a stupid cow. You are not a stupid cow. You are gorgeous, smart, successful and amazing. So help me if that lame ass Theo Bonifant made you feel any different…”
“Ashley, that’s the problem. He made me feel beautiful, loved, special, fabulous. But yet, he’s a god damned drunk with a side order of sex addiction. So, there you go.”
“Well, that’s all behind you. It’s over. You owe it to yourself to move on and find someone else.”
“That simple, eh?” She was already feeling better. God love a confident female friend at times like this.
“Yep. It’s pretty much that simple. Now, did you shave everywhere. I mean, you know…”
“Jesus. Yes. I did. I mean, I skipped the wax this month but I can’t imagine the man getting that close to my wares tonight.”
“Okay. We’ll have to remedy that for date number two. Barret is a total sweetheart, Ellen. Don’t worry. But I should tell you that he’s also divorced. No kids. I don’t know a ton of details.”
“None are necessary. It’s just dinner, for Christ’s sake.”
“Right. Keep telling yourself that. You saw him, right?”
“Stop it,” Ellen insisted, blushing. And tingling.
“Whatever. Have fun, sister girl. I want all the details. Talents. Inches. The works!”
“Go away,” she said.
“Details. I mean it.”

“You are awful,” Ellen said. “I’m hanging up now.”

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