Wednesday, 6 February 2013

'Healing Hearts' with Liz Crowe

Jay Longmire had it all--a successful business, a beautiful wife, two loving children. But one normal Sunday evening in Ann Arbor everything was ripped from his arms at knifepoint. He has retreated to Traverse City to hide from the world, nursing his physical and emotional wounds and trying to cope with mind-numbing guilt over his inability to protect his family.

Abby Powers serves him coffee he never drinks and has become obsessed with the movie-star handsome but melancholy man. And the anticipation of his appearance every day takes her mind off her own messy life.

What begins as a near desperate physical connection out of the blue develops into a friendship that has the potential to heal two damaged hearts. But Jay is terrified to love again. While Abby's fierce independence forces them both to acknowledge the deeper relationship they both desire, but that remains just out of reach.

Hi Liz, thank you so much for dropping by. Love that cover by the way!

Okay, starting off with the book…
  1. If you had to sum up ‘Healing Hearts’ in 30 words or less what would you say?
Tragedy leads to the triumph of companionship and love.

  1. Abby sounds intriguing – what do you most like about her?
Her innate nurturing tendencies—she takes care of people—and she is channelling that into what she hopes will be success as a nurse someday.

  1. Is there anything about her that frustrates you?  Not really. She has been through one young marriage that ended with her on the receiving end of a lot of debt she is determined to overcome. By the time she meets Jay she has such focus that she nearly misses the fact that he is in deep need of a human connection.

  1. What does Jay most admire about her? What draws him to her?
That nurturer in her soul—he needs it, bad. He has cut himself off from everything and anything that would remind him of his past and is drawn to her, without even realizing it at first, coming to her friend’s coffee shop in Traverse City every day to stare out the window.

  1. Jay sounds quite damaged, what is/are his redeeming feature/s?
Actually, Jay Longmire is a great guy. Good looking, driven, a successful entrepreneur with a nearly annoying positive outlook on life,  a pretty typical “romance alpha hero” if you will---it’s what happens to him and to the family he adores, right in front of his eyes, that is his motivation by the time the story begins, or rather, his anti-motivation.

  1. And is he the type of guy you could fall for, or would you steer clear? I’d pay good money for a guy like him.

  1. What/who inspired you to write the story?
A story I read in Rolling Stone about 2 years or so ago. Something similar happened to a man in real life and I have had a hell of a time getting it out of my head. When I was asked to contribute to a series for Decadent Publishing about main characters facing challenges in their lives that must be overcome in order to find love, this is the very first thing I thought of. I changed the majority of the details, but the crux of the tragedy is there.

  1. And what about the characters - are they a little bit you, people you know, or did they just leap out and grab you (metaphorically speaking of course!)?
These are fictional characters of course, and really evolved for me over the course of writing this (For me) short story. Jay was a pretty easy guy to create. For Abby I needed someone strong, yet soft—a woman worth the effort for Jay to step back from the abyss of his horribly ruined life and cling to.

And we, sorry I, being naturally nosy would love to know a bit about you…
  1. Where/when do you write?
Anywhere and everywhere. I own a brewery and manage the beer bar that is attached to it so I write early in the mornings, late at night in my office at the brewery, on weekends, while waiting for my kid to finish soccer practice, in the car, in my head…a better question for me is where and when DON’T you write.

  1. What part of writing do you enjoy most, coming up with the idea, planning, writing it or typing The End?!
I like The End because I feel like it’s an accomplishment. I’m a serious marathon writer (and reader for that matter). I wrote Healing Hearts in about three days. Once I get an idea I will head write, usually while walking my dogs or doing housework, then sit and it just will pour out of me until it’s done. I have a new nearly 200,000 word novel that will release later this year that I wrote in three and a half weeks. Of course the revision and editing and more revision occurs after that—I’m a sucker for a hard line edit that cleans up my repetitive words and what not. But because I write this way, typing “The End” feels like a real victory.

  1. Sum yourself up in 30 words or less (ha, I hate questions like this!)?!
Brewery-owning, beer snob/wench and mom with a soccer fetish and writing habit I must feed, daily.

  1. Do you spend much time reading? What’s your favourite bedtime/holiday read? Favourite author/genre?
I don’t read a lot anymore (see above: owning a brewery and trying to make money writing books). But when I do I will devour a book, cover to cover, OR I will set it a side and stop after a chapter or two. I’ve don’t a LOT more of this in 2012 than I care to mention, with a lot of “best sellers.” I can’t really abide copy-cat plots, thinly crafted characters, or cookie-cutter concepts. I had a reviewer just today say about one of my other recent releases (a ménage called Honey Red that is set in the brewing industry):
 If you like honest emotions even when they are uncomfortable, non-traditional relationships, and a love story that breaks all the romance novel rules, this book is probably just what you have been looking for. “
I’m pondering adopting that: “breaking all the romance novel rules since 2009” thing as a mantra. There are plenty of people who don’t like it and don’t mind telling me as much. But more and more do and I’m gratified to find readers who are willing to go outside their typical reading box and contemplate a “novel” that may be called “romance” but it something else entirely.

I read a lot of mainstream fiction, some Young Adult if it comes recommended to me and have several authors whose grocery lists I would read. They include:
John Irving
Margaret Atwood
Ana Quinlan
Barbara Kingsolver
John Greene
Zadie Smith
As for my genre, I am sorry to say that I’ve put aside a dozen or more of those this year. However, I have discovered some new ones to me I enjoy:
Roni Loren
Lauren Dane (non paranormal)
Laura Kaye
Cat Grant
Ann Mayburn

The problem with this genre, in my honest opinion, is that many publishers push conformity, (having had it thrust upon me I know this for a fact). I get that they “know their readers” and the relative successes of many of them hinge upon cranking out the same story with different character names a different sets of man nipples on the cover every month. But I am willing to bet, now, that they are all re-evaluating their business models, and could open up for more “outside the box” type stories. I know Decadent Publishing (publisher of my Healing Hearts, Cheeky Blonde a stand alone brewery based suspense novel and Turkish Delights, a series of stories about a multicultural family) is doing this and my other main publisher Tri-Destiny avoids cookie cutter stories at all costs.  The model of “same old same old” is fading. And many publishers are shifting gears and reaping the rewards and benefits. Readers can only benefit.

  1. Coffee or tea (or wine!)?
Coffee in the morning
Craft beer in the evening.

  1. Starter or dessert?
Starter, preferably something with a lot of cheese involved.

  1. What would you be doing if time & money were no object?
Exactly what I am doing but with a lot less stress and a sh*t ton more paid advertising for both of my businesses. Well, maybe I’d spend half the year on the southern coast of Turkey, but otherwise…yeah.

  1. Best bit of advice you’ve ever been given, and by whom
Don’t even think about taking yourself too seriously.

And before you run off, can you share a little excerpt?

Thanks for sharing Liz and good luck with ‘Healing Hearts’. Thanks. This is a pretty tough story I won’t kid you. What Jay has experienced and is recounted through the telling of his recovery from it is beyond horrific.  This is a novella not for the faint of heart.

“Stop flirting with me. That’s a personal bubble violation,” he whispered, letting his lips graze her earlobe, loving how her whole body shivered against him.
“Fine, then stop pressing against me so hard I can feel how much money is in your pocket.”
“Touché.” But he gripped her closer. The candlelight flickered, the music embraced them, and she nearly brought him to his knees with her next words.
“I can’t be what you want me to be, Jay. I have goals. I need my independence. I want to make it on my own.”
He sucked in a breath, slid the hand he had on her hip around to the small of her back. He didn’t need this. But he wanted it so much he was about to explode. “I’m never going to be what you want me to be, either. Let’s just be…what we are…tonight.”
She laid her head against his chest, and he shut his eyes, trying not to let the moment overwhelm him, send him screaming into the night. Christy’s face at their wedding, at the birth of their children, and that last moment when her eyes clouded over after she told him not to blame himself while he watched her die—they all rose, clear and bright. He swallowed, leaned down into Abigail’s thick riot of dark curls, sucked in a deep breath. “What do you want me to be for you…tonight?” he asked.
She put her hand to his face, went up on her tiptoes, and met his lips, urgent and needy. He kissed her, listening to the crowd clap and catcall. Then broke away. “Well?” he asked, his body zinging.
“I want you to be the guy who takes me to bed again.” The simplicity of her words taking his breath away. “I don’t want to be made love to, not now. I need you, Jay. With me, inside me, all over me. And you need it, too. No strings, no emotion. Only physical urges met. I’m willing. Are you?”
He stepped away from her, a little shocked and a lot horny. “Give me two minutes.” Grateful the room had dimmed for the music and dancing, he dropped three hundred in cash on the table, more than enough to cover the meal, wine, and a healthy tip, and took her hand.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said, giggling when he pushed her up against the side of his SUV and dove into her mouth, sweeping into it with his tongue, his hands cradling her face then buried in her hair. She molded into him, making that damn noise, the one that made him insane, down in her throat.
He broke from her, stared into her eyes. “Yes.”

Buy it:


Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great middle west, 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 ground breaking romance sub genre: “Romance for Real Life” has gained thousands of fans and followers, interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog 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.

I will give away a copy of any Decadent back list books to one commenter
Here is a link to those books (The Turkish Delights books are a series. Cheeky Blonde and Caught Offside are stand alones).

Also, check out Decadent Publishing’s submission guidelines here:


  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, the story looks great!

  2. I can't believe how much the Muse loves you! Healing Hearts looks like another wonderful book.

  3. Liz, I can't believe how much the Muse loves you! Congratulations on another wonderful book.

  4. Loved reading about you and your book. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi, Liz. Wonderful excerpt and interview. Still doing the down dogs?

  6. there are no down dogs in Bikram yoga Vicki but plenty of sweat!