Essence of Time
by Liz Crowe
A “take life by the throat” philosophy has always served Rob well. It keeps him focused, forcing emotions and potential relationships to take a back seat to his aspirations. But once every obstacle has been conquered and he’s achieved his goal—executive chef at a famous Chicago restaurant—he must acknowledge that he has reached his mid-thirties very much alone.
Blake has just jettisoned his dream job—head of a fast-growing craft microbrewery—to escape from the woman who shattered his soul. Arriving at a Chicago beer festival prepared to drown his sorrows before moving on he is miserable and numb.
Fate throws the men together altering their respective worlds forever.
Once Rob reveals the personal demon that has haunted him for years, Blake allows himself to fully trust again, and admits he wants a child. But a mutual attraction evolves out of a business arrangement with the woman hired as their surrogate, which has the potential to destroy an already delicate status quo.
But time is of the essence, and becomes the one luxury they don't have.
An honest depiction of a modern relationship mosaic reminding us to treasure every single moment we are allowed to love and be loved.
Hi Liz :) Glad to have you here. Now, to start, what inspired you to write the novel ESSENCE OF TIME?
While Essence of Time is a novel within a long series (Stewart Realty has 8.5 books) it is very much a stand alone story. And I was inspired to write Rob and Blake’s story as I was finishing up the first 3 books (Floor Time/ Sweat Equity/ Closing Costs), which has the 2 of them in supporting roles. But as I said it is written as something you can pick up, enjoy and never read any more about the characters in it. However, these folks are pretty addictive and I don’t have many readers who don’t plow through the series once they get their hands on one of the books.
How would you describe the story to someone who hasn't read it yet?
Essence of Time is the story of 2 men who meet at adults, fully comfortable in their sexual identities (bisexuality) and spend some time denying their emotional connection thanks to a bad breakup for one and a fairly grim secret for another. Once they do admit how they feel, they open a business together (a brew pub in Blake’s hometown of Ann Arbor), and discover that Blake’ sister and Rob’s best friend from college have hooked up and that becomes a problem for super-over protective brother Blake and loyal friend Rob. But ultimately, they want to have a family, and end up hiring Lila as their surrogate. Of course the men are both “alphas” and have to work through honest jealousy issues before coming to terms with surprising fact—they love her too.
Fair warning: this book ends on a shocking note and requires a lot of tissues.
Describe Rob and Blake and Lila in 3 words each.
Rob: loyal, steadfast, low key
Blake: energetic, artistic, emotional
Lila: calm, shy, organized
What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why?
The moment when Rob realizes that his old buddy from college, Jack Gordon--the guy he spent four years with scoring at every sorority party with as a young hetero man--has been messing around with (and may very well be in love with) Blake’s sister Sara. It’s hilarious.
Why do you write ?
To quiet the voices in my head.
Do you listen to music while you write?
Sometimes, but I don’t require total silence. I will write whenever and wherever I can when I’m in the writing groove. I do like music on when I edit to drown out my screams and groans of agony.
Did you always want to be an author?
No, no really. But I was always a reader and so when I started my journey as author about 4 years ago it felt very natural.
Does your family read your books?
My oldest daughter does, my spouse is my “early reader” and my son recommends them to whatever girl he’s dating. My mom is one of my beta readers.
Can you tell me some of your favorite authors? How about books?
My fav books include The Green Mile, Pigs in Heaven, Sisterland, Water for Elephants, The Stand, What Alice Forgot and Gone With the Wind
What are you currently working on?
A self published series called The Love Brothers. I’m in edits on book one (Love Garage) and about ¼ through book 2 (Coach Love) which means I’m way behind! You can find Love Garage on Goodreads already as a “highly anticipated book of 2015.”
A few short answer questions:
Tea or coffee? Both (coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoons)
Do you prefer the sea side or the mountains? Sea side
Sweet or salty? salty
Print or ebook? both
Movies or TV shows? TV but mostly cable shows like Mad Men and Deadwood
One of the most endearing things about the man he’d come to love was his devotion to his sister. Their tall, fair-haired, green-eyed good looks were striking, as were their similar, high-strung personalities. Rob loved how much of a rock Blake was for Sara. Somehow, though, Rob sensed he would ultimately be the foundation for them all.
He winced as a familiar small voice spoke in his head, one he’d relegated to the trash bin in his attempt to convince himself that he truly loved Blake—that he wanted a relationship. It snuck in, and Rob put a shaking hand over his eyes as it reminded him he might not be around for the long haul.
He leaned in the doorway, observing the cavernous space that he had to transform into something resembling a profitable business. “Want me to call her? Get her some food?” Sara was notorious for not eating, too lazy to fix herself much more than cereal most nights, and so deep into her new career as a real estate agent she worked crazy hours. She was fun, if a tad self-centered. Rob liked her and was happy to help her out.
“Yeah, maybe. Do you mind?”
“No of course not. I’m standing in your future brewery by the way.” He ran a hand over the rough walls, noting already how cramped it was going to be back here if Blake bought all those fermenters, but not caring, as long as it meant Blake got back to Michigan fast.
“Sweet. What’s the electric load like? Drains? Water supply?”
Rob laughed and put his forehead against the wall, his need to have Blake beside him so intense it hurt. “Those are all your issues when you get back. I have my own problems in the kitchen already.”
“So, it is for real then. This whole thing?” Blake’s voice had a catch in it. Rob knew what he meant.
“Yes Blake. It is very, very real. Now hurry and get your sweet ass home. I miss you. I’m hornier than a sailor on shore leave.” He started back out into the larger space that he had to fill with tables, chairs, a bar, lights, televisions, decent bathrooms. He closed his eyes. “I need you here.”
“Tomorrow afternoon once I get the shipping arrangements made.” The silence stretched out, but remained comfortable. Rob let himself relax inside it before speaking.
“The LLC is formed. The sign is ordered. I’m ordering all the tables and chairs and meeting the carpenter to start the bar tomorrow. The Local is the real deal. And now I am terrified.”
“You? Terrified?” Blake chuckled. “Now that’s a first.”
“No,” he whispered, and then rallied. That was a conversation he was not ready to have with Blake. Not yet. “I’ll call your hapless sister, get her some food tonight. Who is the lucky dude she’s dating anyway?”
“I don’t know. She won’t admit much.”
“I’ll feed her dinner. See what I can pry out of her.” He watched as Jack laughed into his own phone, his elbows propped on expensive wool-clad knees. The guy was on a roll no doubt, but to where, Rob was starting to wonder. “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“Rob?” He stopped, finger hovering over the “end call” icon on his phone screen as Blake kept talking. “Um, I just was wondering something.”
“Yeah?” His heart pounded, nearly choking him. He had no idea why.
“I thought I’d find a place, you know, uh, somewhere else so I’m not imposing on you.”
Rob sighed. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.”
“Well, I mean….”
Rob swallowed a sudden knot of fear-tinged nausea. He needed to see Blake so badly right now his whole body hummed with the ridiculous urge to jump on a plane and meet him halfway between Michigan and Colorado. “When you showed up at my door at four in the morning I took your presence for more than an answer to “will you run a business with me,” okay? I don’t take this kind of shit lightly. I’ve given up on more relationships than I care to mention. Now I know why. I was saving myself for you. Now go on, get some sleep. Because I plan on keeping you awake for at least two day straight when you get back. We clear?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe lives Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Liz will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour
a Rafflecopter giveaway