Saturday, August 24, 2013

Brewing Up a Book

Book Brewing 101
  (with a super hot excerpt at the end)

There is a “regulation” in Germany—the Reinheitsgebot—that states:

Beer is made up 4 ingredients, and 4 ingredients ONLY:


The Germans invented the lager style of beer, using yeasts they discovered, the create a different sort of beer than had been brewed before. Ale beer was truly an ancient form of sustenance, had been around since Egyptian times and was drunk in leiu of water on many continents.  



Since the advent of the “American craft beer movement” in the late ‘90s, that regulation has been thrown out the window in the quest for unique flavors and a sort of one-up-manship among the (now) thousands of brewers seeking an audience of drinkers. Everything from corriandor and orange peels, hot peppers, coffee, and chocolate to cherries, grapes, pumpkin and ginger are now added to a host of “regulation beers” (water/malt/hops/yeast) by breweries large and small. My favorite example of going off the rez with this is the Peanut Butter and Jelly Beer brewed right here in Michigan at Short’s Brewing near Traverse City.

It’s not a bad thing to add these “adjuncts” (beer jargon for “anything not water/barley/hops/yeast). Some of the create unique, well-rounded and interesting beer drinking experiences. Others are gross but fun to contemplate.


I own a craft brewery, work with brewers and beer drinkers every day. I’ve come to value the process of taking “pure beer” and rounding it out in a cool way with well-balanced and considered ingredients seeking alternatives for the many folks who pass through my Tap Room doors.  It’s pretty telling that our best sellers are beers with no adjuncts—just a well blended mix of water, barley, hops and yeast. But I need a segue to my life as author so….


I’ve also written a few books. And, since I have a degree in English Lit, I’ve read a fair few as well. There is a school of thought in this business that there are only seven or so basic plots: overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; rebirth. If you have some time to ponder such things, you will realize that from the Bible, through Greek plays, Shakespeare and today you can apply one or more of these to most works of literature, including popular fiction.


The fact that there are so many great books to choose from is a testament to the fact that authors take these “basics” and add their own spices, pumpkins, grapes and hot peppers to them to create a huge range of options for readers to consider. My latest release, MAN ON, is the first book in a new series set in the world of professional soccer (my first “adjunct” and a unique one as there are not a ton of these around). In it, you meet two of the players for the original Black Jack Gentlemen fictional Detroit-based expansion soccer team (in a fictional expansion pro soccer league). This is not a league of “starter-outers” or a farm team for the more established Major League Soccer teams. These are men of all ranges of experience from literally all over the world who’ve been convinced, cajoled and paid well to come and form a legit new team that can take on teams of equal or better caliber.


My second “adjunct” to this story: these men are bi-sexual. One of them, Parker Rollings, is a young man just out of college who is struggling with his sexual identity. The other, Nicco Garza is an older player from Spain who lost his super-star status when his ex-wife “outed” him. 

So you have the set up for “overcoming the monster” (acceptance of yourself as a homosexual and a pro athlete—not an easy task), “the quest” (trying to create a viable new soccer team, getting a bunch of men who’ve never played together to form a cohesive group) and even “rebirth” (when Parker accepts himself as a bi-sexual man in love with another man who happens to be a teammate).

There could be tragedy of course. These men have both worked so very hard to achieve success as athletes. It is well known that the general public does not accept homosexual men on their “favorite teams” easily.  So it could be that they find each other, then make a very hard decision to reject their potential private happiness in order to further the public success of their team.

Taking basic plots and adding the adjuncts of setting, characters, conflicts and resolution truly does resemble the crafting of a great beer. We all hope for more drinkers and readers thanks to our efforts.  And, as with craft beer, there is nothing wrong with taking the basics of a plot and adding as many unique additions as possible to craft something interesting—or something fun (or even gross). Just remember, get it edited! We never serve a beer without a lot of sampling and tasting through the process. Yeah, that’s the fun bit.


Just doing my job, converting cover models to the light of craft beer...(I love my job most days)



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Man On is available now

blurb: Bad boy of European football, Nicolas Garza is about to hit American shores with a vengeance. Signed by the Detroit Black Jack Gentlemen as lynch pin for their expansion club, Nicco only half believes he’s making the right move. But with a past full of ghosts and rotten behavior chasing him from his homeland, he has no real choice.

Parker Rollings is a college soccer superstar, but his parents’ plans for their only son do not include professional athletics. When the Black Jacks approach him to finalize their roster, Parker leaps at the chance to keep playing, leaving behind medical school, stability and his first and only college sweetheart.

Nicco and Parker face off as bitter rivals for a coveted starting spot at midfield and are forced to channel their negative energy into something positive for the sake of the group—and themselves.


SMOKING HOT NSFW OR H OR ANYTHING UNLESS YOU HAVE A COLD SHOWER HANDY (not published anywhere before except, you know, in the book....it's a long one...):

Nicco winced as his newly-sore feet hit the cold tile of the bathroom floor. After a
long hot shower, he wound a huge towel around his waist. As a small spark of anger
caught, burning a little brighter behind his eyes.

Jesus Christ, Garza, you seduce men and women with ease. What is your fucking
problem? You want this kid. Take him. He’s ready. It’s a purely physical act. You
understand the mechanics. The kid is an obvious bottom. You prefer to top. Perfect. Do
your thing.

Nicco’s chest burned and his skin felt raw, flayed at the word floating through his
head about Parker...“mine.” At loose ends, unsure if he should amble out of the
bathroom naked, with a towel, fully dressed, or what, which pissed him off even more.
He glared into the mirror, dragged fingers through his wet hair and set his
shoulders. He’d be damned if this kid, this…unbelievable, handsome, smart, talented, and compelling man would turn him into a nervous teenager.

He jerked the door open and walked out with the large towel still around his waist, determined to get control of this thing. To take what he wanted, go back to Spain, and never darken the door of America again. Not if it meant exposure to heartbreak. He’d
come out publicly, so he could never play in Europe, but he had plenty of money. He
could retire, consult, coach, or sit on a beach for the rest of his life. Of all the things
Nicolas Garza was careless about, one of them was never money.

It had been a foolish stunt with the Black Jacks, putting himself out there, a prancing pony for the media to drool over and the public to crush to their collective, open-minded bosom—or vilify as “all that was wrong with sports.” He’d cut himself off at the knees with it for certain. He was stuck in America now, of all places, the country that had at least at first taken on his open homosexuality with a media-frenzied fervor.

All the foolish fantasies he’d allowed himself years ago with Leandro, the one
man he loved more than life, came rushing back. Scenes of domestic bliss, of shared
goals, happiness, and more flashed through his head as he took in the sight of Parker. The
tall man stood in front of a gigantic television tuned to a premiership game, shirt in his
hand, his perfectly-formed back and broad shoulders an insurmountable temptation.
Nicco took a breath and headed for the mini bar. Alcohol. That would help.

Parker whooped when someone scored. “Hey, did you ever play with….”

“Yeah, probably. All of ’em at one point or another.” Nicco dropped into a chair,
beer in hand, letting resentment burn bright. “I’m old, remember?” Parker’s eager face
turned back to the screen, as he bent one leg then the other stretching out his quads and
hamstrings,his lithe body moving under Nicco’s gaze.

They both watched the match unfold, go into stoppage time then get decided on
penalty kicks. By the time it ended they sat side by side on the couch, an easy familiarity
between them. Without a word Parker jumped up and disappeared into the bathroom.
Shower noises drowned out the final commentary from the broadcast.

Nicco flipped the television to a music channel. When Parker re-emerged dressed
in a towel and nothing else, the latest R&B song drifted through the large room. Nicco
walked up to the object of his desire, deciding to be as straightforward as he could.
“Look, Parker, I’m, um, not gonna kid you. I want…ah….” The expression on Parker’s face stopped him. Deer in the headlights, combined with a tinge of anger and abject terror sent red flags flying all across Nicco’s brain. “Never mind.”

He sat back down and drained the rest of the beer. A complex array of emotions
played across the young man’s face. Nicco watched, amused, and then resigned. “It’s
okay. I understand. I’d try to escape me too. I come with my own media circus now. Why
would you want to subject yourself to it?”
He stood and made his way to the bar again, needing to drown, to shut out, to close off any and everything. “You should go, young Parker. You aren’t safe here. Not with me.” He kept his back to the man, throat hot and tight with unsaid words.

Before he could pick up his drink, strong arms encircled him. A firm chest pressed against his back. Lips found his neck, trailed down to his shoulder. The unmistakable sensation of fully aroused male pressed close, made him groan and raise his arms, reach behind him, and grip Parker’s thick hair in his fingers. “You don’t want to do this,” he whispered still facing away from the man he suspected he already loved.
The hands roamed across his body, down, yanked the towel away in one quick motion, leaving him bare and exposed and pulsing—heart, soul, and body.

Parker heard nothing but Nicco’s breathing, felt nothing but Nicco’s soft, silky
skin. He kissed the deep brown flesh, closed his eyes and let his hand move, taking him
places he never thought he’d go. But he had to, now. He required the man’s lips on his like he required oxygen to breathe.

Nicco turned slowly, held out his arms. Parker went into them, as lips, tongues and teeth clashed with urgency. Nicco’s hands roamed all over him. Parker heard himself moaning, sighing Nicco’s name. His brain released every ounce of tension and anxiety he’d been harboring about this very moment, the moment Parker became true to himself at last. His eyes burned but Nicco kept kissing him, muttering something around his lips as he reached down to tug Parker’s towel off.

He grunted when Nicco gripped him. He trembled, confusion taking hold, making
him dizzy. The hand kept up its steady rhythm, lips stayed on his, tongues met and retreated. The room dimmed around Parker’s vision.
“Holy shit.” His whole body pulsed with energy he couldn't contain as he groaned and shook, mortified at his teenager-ish knee jerk orgasm. “God.” He broke away, stepped back, his ears buzzing with shame and a low hum of still unfulfilled need. “I’m, um, sorry.” He took another step away from the man who’d compelled him to act this way. Now he really needed to leave but wanted to stay, to wrap himself in the blanket that was Nicco and never emerge.

Nicco held out a hand, his gaze soft, his full lips pursed with concern. “It’s okay,” he soothed, putting a hand to Parker’s boiling hot face. Lips touched his, gentler this time, but firm with purpose.

Parker sighed and wrapped his arms around the other man, reveling in the hard planes, the angles, and rough skin. Nicco maneuvered him backward towards the couch. They stayed standing, hands unable to settle as Parker allowed himself to touch Nicco all

The amazing velvet of Nicco’s shaft filled Parker’s hand as he palmed it. His own cock surged back to life, springing up between them.
“Let go a minute. Trust me. I need to feel you against me,” Nicco murmured into his mouth. Parker wound his shaking fingers in the silky depths of Nicco’s hair, groaning with satisfaction as their bodies melded, heat meeting heat. Nicco broke away then, put
his hands on either side of Parker’s face. Parker tried his best to calm his breathing but he couldn’t, didn’t want to.

“Fuck me. Nicco. Please…I…want you to.” Nicco blinked, took a long breath, then pressed kisses to his nose, both cheeks, his neck, making him moan and fist his hands in the long, silky hair again. “Please. God, Nicco.”

“No, Parker. I can’t. I won’t. I’m no good for you….” Their lips met again and they dropped to the couch together even as Nicco protested. Parker couldn’t tell where he ended and Nicco began. The realization made a bright beam of happiness pierce his brain. “Stop!” Nicco pulled away then, disentangled himself and sat, his shoulders heaving. Parker leapt to his feet, stood in front of the man who’d enticed him on so many levels. Putting a hand to his chin he tilted the dark, handsome face up. Their mutual nakedness felt completely natural. Parker’s usual reticence about nudity vanished in the flash of Nicco’s dark, sexy stare.

“I won’t stop. I want this. So do you. I will stop pretending though. If you will.” He stepped closer, his throbbing sex inches from Nicco’s lips. “If you won’t fuck me then….” he gasped as the other man rose, gripped his face, and stared into his soul.

“I’m not going to fuck you, Parker. But I am going to make love to you. Over and
over and over again.” Parker dropped his hands to his sides, let Nicco kiss him, allowed
himself to accept his touch everywhere, then nearly make him pass out with the sensation
of lips, tongue, and throat.

Want more? buy it here:





jean hart stewart said...

Wow...Love it. Don't let your fascinating beer company keep you from writing more and more.

Melissa Keir said...

I'm always learning when you post about beer. Can you make beer without hops? I have a friend who is allergic to hops. Maybe there's a beer that has less hops??

And I love the books. Can't wait to read the next ones.

Tina Donahue said...

Hot guy! Happy sales, Liz! :)

Fiona McGier said...

Everyone should get converted to craft beer! That flavorless, watery piss that many Americans call beer is awful! Me faither from Glesga used to say when he came here from Scotland he wondered why Americans drank their beer so cold...it's supposed to be cellar temperature (60?) so you can taste the nuances. Then he tried American beer and realized that if it's cold enough when you drink it, you won't notice that it has no damn flavor!