Today I am excited to welcome Liz Crowe. A fellow Midwesterner with a great new novel titled Good Faith coming out soon. The story has all the elements that make a story sizzle!!!
Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.
Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.
Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.
Three families—Gordon, Frietag, and Robinson—share complex connections previously established in the best-selling Stewart Realty series. This stand-alone, final novel explores the characters coping with mature marriages and challenging, adolescent children. Through shared experiences, their inherent strengths and fragilities as individuals and as couples are revealed forming the basis of relationships for the next generation.
Brandis Robert Gordon emerges as the golden boy from the crowd of children that have grown up together, the apple of his family’s eye, the kid the other kids follow — even when he heads over a cliff. He is being raised by fiercely focused parents who are determined to succeed at everything they do, even if it means unconscious neglect of their children’s emotional needs. Brandis’ star shines bright, blinding family and friends to his inner weaknesses until it’s too late.
Good Faith is, at its core, the story of this young man’s all-consuming struggles with success and failure. It is also a saga of his personal odyssey—his ultimate quest for normalcy, when everything around him seems destined to thwart that goal.
The intertwining relationships amongst Brandis, his best friend Gabe Frietag, Gabe’s younger sister, Blair, and her friend, Lillian Robinson, bracketed by the equally compelling lives of their parents and siblings, form the framework of this complex novel.
By the time Brandis fully grasps what Blair, the girl he’s known his whole life, means to him, he has embarked on a life journey plagued by multiple addictions. Recruited to play Division I football as a freshman starting quarterback, after years of dedicated effort towards that very goal, he attempts to focus and be the man his parents and girlfriend expect him to be. But his personal demons already have a firm grip on him, and his downward spiral threatens to drag everyone he loves into the vortex with him.
Blair Frietag has never considered herself strong or independent—she’s just “Gabe’s nerdy sister” and “Lillian Grace’s best friend.” But she is harboring a life-long obsession with Brandis Gordon. When he finally comes to her, she welcomes everything about him—the good and the bad—nearly destroying herself in the process. Because Brandis’ love is conditional and anchored in dependence, she must accept or reject her role as enabler. By the time she acknowledges the fact that her desire to help him overpowers her inability to do so, it’s nearly too late.
After being told that the man he considers his father is actually not, Gabriel Frietag’s final years of high school devolve into angry confusion. The fact that he has started to question his sexuality only compounds his misery and frustration. The love/hate relationship with Brandis, which began while the boys were small, is sorely tested by Brandis’ increasingly bad choices and is finally severed, thanks to what Gabe considers Brandis’ unhealthy dependence on Blair. In an uncharacteristic move, Gabe rejects everything he knows and loves, and accepts a scholarship to
play soccer for a college on the West Coast, hoping he can break from the painful confines of his childhood home. But his connection to Lillian Grace Robinson, another instrument in their life-long quartet of friendship, remains seemingly unbreakable.
Lillian is Blair’s companion from birth. A shy girl at first, “Lilly-G” seems destined to live forever in Blair’s shadow. But as she observes her friend’s descent into emotional turmoil with Brandis, Lillian comes to terms with her powerful feelings for Gabe. This realization of her own inner strength molds her into the touchstone everyone reaches for: their anchor in the storm, the friend they are all lucky to have, while remaining the one who will forever hold Gabe’s heart in her hands — no matter how far he goes seeking escape.
The Gordon, Frietag and Robinson ties are born of circumstance, necessity and emotion. Yet the choices of the second generation seem destined to destroy all they have built together. When the shocking loss of one of their strongest members comes at the precise moment when healing seems within reach, it threatens their tenuously rebuilt bonds. The tragedy forces everyone to open their eyes to the fickleness of fate and to rely on each other once more.
Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with all its temptations, joys, and sorrows. The plot’s twists and turns are designed to reflect the volatility of human nature, with all its hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks.
More than just another coming-of-age tale, this compelling new novel from best-selling author Liz Crowe is told with sympathy, humor and a real-life voice that will not easily be forgotten.
That morning his father had roused him from a sound sleep. He’d blinked, confused, by the angle of the sunlight. He rarely slept much past eight since he usually had some sort of training or the other.
“Let’s go son. Time for lunch.”
Brandis had dragged himself up, his limbs feeling like they weighed a thousand pounds each. His brain buzzed with a strange sort of energy, his typical state, and not at all welcome considering it normally didn’t hit him until later in the day. The conversation his father began as soon as they were seated at their usual diner did not help.
“So, listen, Brandis. These girls…Katie’s friends from college….”
Brandis sipped his ice water, waiting for his father to finish the thought. His heart pounded, and his face flushed hot with embarrassment.
Jack sighed, as if exasperated that Brandis didn’t pick up the thread on his own, leaving him to carry on with the awkwardness about to ensue. Then he leveled his gaze, his face open, not angry or judgmental. “I think that you may be in for some…I mean, they’re…shit.”
“If you are gonna tell me where babies come from again,” Brandis said, after deciding to ease his father’s obvious distress. He cocked an eyebrow and half a smile. Jack seemed to relax somewhat as Brandis continued. “Don’t bother. I already know.”
He flashed his brightest smile up at the middle-aged woman who stood at their table, coffee pot in hand. She blinked rapidly at him, and at that precise moment, Brandis got his first flash of…something…about his power. Up until now he’d merely been “Brandis the trouble maker, the causer of strife.” Suddenly, he felt strong, amazingly so, stronger than even the man sitting across from him, a taller, older version of himself. His body tingled all over, as he tested the smile out again on the woman, making her slop some coffee out onto the table. His father frowned, but then chuckled as the woman walked away after they gave their orders.
“Son,” he said, leaning back and cradling the coffee mug to his chest. “Your adventure has only just begun.”
“Huh?” Brandis picked up his cup but didn’t drink any. He hated coffee, but had ordered it in a burst of need to be more like Jack. As he sipped the bitter stuff, he was transported back years before when he and his dad would spend every single Saturday morning together, eating breakfast at this very diner. He had adored the man, he remembered distinctly. His chest hurt at the simplicity of their relationship then. He looked away from Jack’s deep blue, knowing gaze.
The subject changed of its own accord, and Brandis let it. Although part of him wanted to ask for advice, a much bigger part would not allow the words past his lips.
They ate, discussing the upcoming football season and Brandis’ part in it. The recruiting company Jack had contracted last year to video his every move would start up with the first game. He’d made varsity again, technically as backup quarterback to a senior boy. Brandis didn’t see this as a setback and had every intention of starting under center by the second or third game.
Finally, when they pushed their empty plates back and sat looking at each other, Brandis felt more comfortable in his father’s presence than he had been in a long time. Jack said, “I am pretty sure at least one of those girls sleeping in the basement is determined to change the status of your virginity for you probably as soon as tonight.”
Brandis choked on the last sip of lukewarm coffee. His face burned, and his body tingled again. “I’m…it’s…uh….” He clutched the napkin in his lap unable to meet his father’s eyes.
“No need to say anything. Let’s just say your mother is an astute reader of female intent. While I was busy admiring your sister’s friend’s ass, she apparently read the girl’s mind or something.” Brandis’ face flushed even hotter.
He resisted the urge to protest, to proclaim his innocence of such things. Because he wanted it back—those mornings between them, father and son, man and boy, not this awkward, man and almost-man bullshit. Because while the thought of one of his sister’s college friends popping his cherry remained a pleasant fantasy, it also made him feel older than he wanted to be right then.
“So, I bought a box of condoms this morning,” Jack went on. “Put some downstairs in the side table drawer and the rest in your room. Use them please.” He sipped the last of his coffee, looked as if he were about to get up, then leaned forward, touching Brandis’ wrist. “Have fun. Don’t be an asshole to women. Let every experience teach you…something. Because you are nothing as a man if you don’t learn from every woman you…love.” Jack looked out the window onto the nearly empty parking lot. Then he turned back, tightened his grip on his son’s arm. “God, you are so…young.” His face fell a moment, then he perked up again, his eyes twinkling. “Okay, so, your mother told me to tell you not to let them corrupt you. But all I’m gonna say is this: always wear protection, no matter what, no matter how much you don’t want to. And don’t let your mom catch you in the act. I’ll handle her otherwise.”
Then he let go, stood and smiled, draping a friendly arm around Brandis’ shoulders as they exited the restaurant.
“You really didn’t tell me you were admiring Katie’s friend’s ass, did you, Dad?”
“No, son. I most certainly did not. You obviously misheard me.” Jack winked as he stood by the passenger’s side of his classic Corvette convertible and tossed the keys to Brandis. “Remember what I told you. Don’t ride my clutch.”
About Liz Crowe
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.
Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
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 many 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.
If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.
Liz is also having a giveaway so please click the link to find out more.
If you are in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area the weekend of November 15 and 16 please stop in for Stewart Realty Series Party!!! It will be a blast!!
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