Guest Post: Liz Crowe

De-Categorizing My Books
By Liz Crowe

I realize that in today’s publishing world, it’s a little counter-productive to claim “my books have no category.” Readers tend to seek out the known—they want to read books “more like” this or that book, typically along specific taste lines, be they romance, mystery, police procedural, legal suspense, sci fi/fantasy/paranormal, horror.

I guess that I’m a bit of an anomaly as a reader and I would call myself among the “voracious” when it comes to that particular past time.

I avoid genre specific books and sections in the bookstore or library. I gravitate towards mainstream fiction, but have been known to enjoy Stephen King, Neil Gaimon, and Chris Moore among some others who, but for their super stardom, would definitely be slotted into categories that are chock full of other options, sort of like “romance.”

I am not a huge fan of any fiction that is predictable, or fantastical in a way that feels unrealistic. I like to read about characters acting in ways that make me think, or feel strongly about them—even negatively. Because it really is the sign of a skillful author when you have visceral feelings about their characters, when they linger in your mind and imagination long after the book has been shut at The End.

But that brings us back to the dilemma. Readers seeking the usual within their genres don’t really value books that seem to veer off in the “wrong” direction (if their characters don’t act in ways that they expect, or the plot takes a turn that is not part of the formula they are seeking when they reach for a book, no matter what that formula may be). I have had some difficulty as my early books were classified (with good reason) as “erotic contemporary romance,” but many of the books I subsequently got published did not deliver on the “romance” formula expectation.

I am not in any way bad mouthing this formula. I understand why people like it and why they flock to purchase books that feature it. It’s an escape. However, I am a reader too. I write what I would like to read. And I don’t like to read books that tell the same story over again, and lead me to an ending that I predicted. It’s a matter of personal taste NOT “good” or “bad” just my preference. So I wrote some books that, while on the face of it seem like they’d be romance novels, are better categorized as “real life, character-driven fiction for adults” (i.e. they include some explicit sex and other mature situations, but are in no way books about people having sex). Many traditional romance readers have been unhappy with me (and have been pretty vocal about it) but luckily many more readers have discovered that sometimes deviating from the formula, if it is done well, can make for a very enjoyable, equally emotional read.

Sex is part of the normal human condition. I describe the act when I feel it furthers the story, which is not every single time my characters do it. I describe them eating, drinking, conversing, working, driving to work or school or having arguments too. These things are also part of what people do. Like having sex. Romance by definition is “character driven.” It’s 99.9% about the people, not the plot. My books are character driven without a doubt (at least up until this point). But I tend to let them act a bit more like real humans, people you know, love, like or hate. But I keep the bedroom door open, if you get me, about 60% of the time. I also have books about men in love, and having sex. And have been told by many including a few book judges, that Essence of Time (book 4 of the Stewart Realty series, about Sara’s brother Blake and his lover Rob) is one of the best ones of the series.

I don’t consider myself a ground-breaker. There are plenty of books out there (most with big publishers and deep pocketed ad campaigns behind them) that have sex built into their storylines but that are not just about sex. But I do like to think in the coming months, as I develop a novel that could be called a “thriller” and one that could be a “mystery” I can inject the character-driven element that I enjoy reading into the structure of these books so that even more readers will discover a Liz Crowe book is a great read, no matter your preferred genre.

Thanks for having me on your blog today!
I hope everyone will give my books a shot, starting with the newly release, print anthology of the first 3 books of the Stewart Realty series. Join the “Jack ‘n Sara” bandwagon! But fair warning: leave all expectations at the door and just enjoy the ride!

Stewart Realty Anthology: The Jack and Sara Trilogy
Official Synopsis

Stewart Realty: Life in the House Lane

Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust.

The Stewart Realty series is a sweeping epic, encompassing many years in the lives of two people who know how to love with their bodies, how to please and get pleasure, to control and be controlled. When it comes to the deeper meaning of the one word they both need, backgrounds and personalities get in the way. While their physical connection sizzles they somehow manage to continuously disappoint one another on an emotional level.

Jack Gordon has it all—money, success, a string of women—but also a deep longing for something more. When he thinks he finds it with Sara Jane Thornton, his world is never the same again. Sara releases a side of himself he considered buried out of frustration and unhappiness. Sara soon learns that she must trust him implicitly, something she cannot do, no matter how many times she tries...and he fails.

With a rich cast of secondary characters, including a young man who presents a near-perfect foil to Jack's intensity, and who falls hard for Sara, The Stewart Realty series is a saga with an emphasis on contemporary life with a healthy dose of realistic eroticism. A tale of modern, busy, driven people seeking the ever-elusive and highly coveted combination—a friend, lover and trusted companion who will be there for the long haul.

Start at the beginning, with the Jack and Sara Trilogy, now for the first time ever in a print anthology. The Stewart Realty series is a best seller in family saga and urban fiction categories. See for yourself what the buzz is all about.

Also, don’t forget that Good Faith, the final book in the series, will be on sale through March 15th. 

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark


  1. I would of never made through 2012 without the Stewart Realty family!! Love them all, so go get it!!!

  2. I truly don't get why this series hasn't taken off the way it should! It's amazing!

  3. 1st I can not handle this being the ending to the Stewart Realty Family!!! I fell in love with all the characters! I started reading the 1st three Stewart realty series and The excitement that came right after while I waited for you to release the others was the best! I could read about this series for ever you know like a never ending novela! :)

  4. I'm a huge fan of books, not genres. I read everything from horror to fantasy, to children's books to new adult. Each one is a great book because of the characters. When you create characters that I love like Jack and Sara, then that's what moves me! Keep it up Liz!

  5. Love these books. They make you FEEL something. I'm a romancer at heart but you know what, romance and love can be brutal and gut-wrenching at times and that's what Liz Crowe does with her novels. Her books make me laugh as much as they make me cry and even turn me on. I dare you to take the ride with the rest of us. I'm up to book 7 in the series and yowza, it's a goodie. Enjoy!

    Audrey Carlan