Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Escalation Clause

Please welcome Liz Crowe author of Escalation Clause.

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.


Liz Crowe


1.How did you come up with ideas for your books? 

The Stewart Realty series began life as a too-long novel that eventually became the original trilogy (Floor Time-Sweat Equity-Closing Costs). They were born of a boring day at work at an open house as a Realtor myself—I just could not stop thinking: “What if…?” Once I finished edits and was doing promotion for the trilogy release I realized that there were some secondary characters who were so compelling as to need their own stories, so Essence of Time and Conditional Offers (books 4 and 5) were born. Then, because I had ended the two with such a dramatic, emotional one-two punch I knew I had to revisit the Stewart Realty gang at least once more to see how they were hanging in there—which is the book that just released: Escalation Clause.

2.What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
Well, I supposed it could be argued that they are “traditional romance,” however the more I write and the more fans I gain for the series the more strongly I feel about my new genre: Romance for Real Life.  I keep my books at times so real readers get very angry or frustrated with my characters but keep reading and keep encouraging me to bring them more.  “Necessary components” for this genre are: characters who screw up, at times more than once; situations that readers can actually relate to; messiness—like kids; very sexy and explicit encounters, that many times lead to the above 3 things.

3.What expertise did you bring to your writing?
My realty series is based in my 15 years spent selling houses.

4.As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
I have all sorts of projects floating around including a spin off series from Stewart Realty that begins in January 2013: the Black Jack Gentlemen series is the story of the expansion soccer league and team (fictional) that one of the main characters from the previous series brings to reality.  It will have at least 4 if not more books as part of it’s story arc.
The Stewart folks will be back with 2 (planned) more books including a heavy BDSM one about some of characters who are heavily into that lifestyle—but with a twist as you might imagine.
I have 2 more mainstream projects I plan to complete in 2013 as well.

5.Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I don’t but I have trusted beta readers and many folks I can bounce ideas off of when needed. I also own a craft microbrewery and handle sales and marketing for it along with a practically full time writing career (now). I can’t commit to groups lest I disappoint with my seeming non-involvement.

6.Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I start writing after doing at times 1 day or a week of head writing, coming up with basic concepts and characters.

7.Do you have an all time favorite book?
Gone With The Wind.

8.Who is your favorite actor and actress
At the moment I love Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire. That guy is as ugly as fireplug but he somehow makes it sexy. THAT is acting.
I have always been a big fan of Reese Witherspoon and think Legally Blonde is one of THE Funniest movies ever.

9.Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
Escalation Clause is a real estate phrase (like all the other titles) that means:  a provision in a purchase contract allowing for incremental increases in the offer price, up to a predetermined amount, based on and evidenced by competing offers.
In a nutshell it means making your highest and best offer known up front, hedging your bets as well as you can, while still protecting your negotiating position. 
There is a point in this book where the original main characters, Jack Gordon and Sara Thornton reach what feels like a dead end in their relationship. Due to many different events they have lost their will or ability or desire to communicate beyond the necessary but they are both desperate to get it back. Sara puts a scene in motion that could completely backfire, putting her highest and best offer out to her husband, willing him to take it.  Whether he does or not is something you’ll see when you read it.
REMEMBER: ESCALATION CLAUSE is not a stand-alone book. It is meant to be read in order. But don’t worry, the first 5 have all received high praise, many 5 star plus reviews and are best sellers in various categories on Amazon.
10.         If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
Jack Gordon---either Jon Hamm or Ben Affleck
Sara Thornton—January Jones

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. 

Escalation Clause: Stewart Realty Book 6
PG 13 for language:

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.

 No way.

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.





Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today

Catherine Lee said...

Liz...I agree, Steve Buscemi is not very attractive yet he is such a compelling actor. Maybe he's better looking in person...LOL.

Unknown said...

thanks for having me today!

Mrs. Blair said...

The Stewart reality series are some of my favorite books by far! Love them!

Sue M Van said...

I loved all the Stewart Realty books. Unfortunately, I have not read the last one as yet. Hoping to have it next month for a Christmas present.

Denise Milano Sprung said...

“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.”

LOVE this dynamic between Jack and Brandis!

Great interview!

Katalina Leon said...

I loved this post! The Stewart Realty series is so unique and peopled with strong characters.
I agree either Jon Hamm or Ben Afflect would make a great Jack Gordon.
Steve Buscemi is a fascinating actor and a wonderful comedian. He's not a looker but he always steals the show.

Christine Young said...

Welcome to my blog. I hope you have a great tour.

Unknown said...

Liz...I wish my "what if's" would turn into such beautifully written books! I do love that your books are not just about all the HOT sex scenes, and that you really develop all the characters, and make them relatable in real life! Keep up the wonderful writing!

Karen H said...

I like your character visuals for Jack and Sara...John Hamm and January Jones are perfect together.

I haven't read any of the books in this series (I promise I will) but I'm wondering if Brandis and Mo get their story too! Sounds like there is a book there too.

Rita Wray said...

I'm looking forward to reading Escalation Clause and have added it to my book list.


Anonymous said...

I love the juxtaposition of soccer and realty...count me in!


D'Ann said...

I love soccer! Can't wait to read!

Bobbieharvs said...

I'm only up to book 4 but this book is definitely on my TBR list :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome series! I adore strong characters with a side of kinky thrown in.
Already on my TBR list. :)

Anonymous said...

Steve Buscemi! One our best and brightest actors. The most surprising thing about him is that he produces a show called Wine (or Vine) Talk on PBS. I've caught it a few times and it's really good.

Liz, your books sound great! Loved the exerpt and I'm looking forward to reading them.

Thanks for blogging so that we can find out about these great gems.


Unknown said...

Karen H in NC: Escalation Clause: STewart Realty book 6 IS very much Maureen centric....but work your way up to it...it will be worth the journey I promise.

Unknown said...

remember: don't try and read this one out of order. You will be cheating yourself out of the WHOLE STORY! the first 5 are top sellers, a couple are award winners and Floor Time (book one) is a best seller! check 'em out!

Unknown said...

Kat you and I have scary similar tastes...but we knew that at "Jon Hamm" didn't we?

Regan Walker said...

I always thought that "traditional romance" meant no sex and the vast majority (that do have love scenes) are mainline romance. I write Regency and I know that traditional Regency means no love scenes. Confusing, isn't it?


Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview. It realy helps to know what movie star's you've cast because now I can really picture the main characters in my head

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

http://www.clarklori.com said...

I've not read any of these, but have to admit the cover of this one sure captures my interest!

Janice Seagraves said...

You're an amazing writer, Liz.

Keep those ideas flowing!


Marianne Stephens said...

You "write what you know"...and it works wonderfully for you! Great books from a talented author. What a pleasure to know you and watch your continued success!

Mary Preston said...

I love it when writers bring their expertise to their books & stories.