There is a rule about beer you may not know. According to the “German Purity Law” or Reinheitsgebot, beer is only made up of four ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. Of course, in the years since the advent of the craft beer boom, this is merely a guideline and no longer a rule. Other beverages (“coolers,” “cider” or even gluten-free, alcoholic beverages) would, at one time, be considered “not beer.” However, and again, thanks to the many, amazing options available, which lead to more and more drinkers, even that is no longer the case.
Go ahead—take a look at any store shelf crammed full of craft beer options and you’ll spot any number of added ingredients or “adjuncts.” An adjunct is anything that is NOT one of the main ingredients (a review: Water, barely, hops, yeast). These days I’ve seen orange peel, coriander, cardamom, lime, lemon, prunes, ever possible berry, peanut butter and jelly, chocolate, hot peppers, ginger, basil, coffee. You name it—it’s been tried.
I like to think about the romance genre in the same way. We have our set parameters—our “purity laws” as it were. Heroes must be handsome, successful, strong either physically or mentally or both. Heroines are typically seeking a hero (whether they know it or not). They meet, have some manner of conflict, overcome it, and live happily ever after. Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not dissing this. We know it. We seek it out. We enjoy reading it.
However, in recent years, the romance genre has undergone its own revolution, not unlike the beer industry. They are both crowded, chock full of great options, many of which will get ignored in the loud, colorful, noisy effort to capture your attention. In the face of this, many authors and brewers are thinking way outside the box in order to find new audiences. And this can only be good for both industries.
Romance novels run the gamut these days from “coming of age” (a sort of in-between YA and adult romance) to chick lit (humorous with an emphasis on the heroine) and women’s fiction (a slightly more serious version of chick lit). Your next novel categorized as “romance” could be very dark, with abuse, addiction, or other difficult topics. It could involve hetero or homosexual storylines, or be even more inclusive by featuring a transgender character. Within the typical tropes (vampires, were-anythings, cowboys, cops, CEOs, raffish Dukes) you might find storylines that at one time would never have been accepted by a typical romance reader—kind of like a beer drinker might never think she’d enjoy a blueberry infused triple sour Belgian, but by golly, she does now!
My novella, Adjunct Lovers, addresses this concept of “add ons” to beer by fleshing out a part of one of my most recent novels, LIGHTSTRUCK from Totally Bound Publishing, which features a couple of hard-core, German brewers, now working together to run a restaurant, raise their daughter and not kill each other in the process. If you’re already a Liz Crowe reader, you know that, while I am a proud romance author, I am equally proud of the way I “add-on” to my romance plotlines, infusing them with a tad more reality, while always (always) allowing my characters to achieve their hard-won HEAs. To me, it makes the reading experience a much fuller one, sort of the way adding some spice, fruit, or heat to water, barley, hops and yeast can make your drinking experience better.
Adjunct Lovers is also unique in that it is an actual beer you can imbibe this summer at Fiction Beer Company, in Denver, Colorado. The owners there reached out to me after reading about my Craft Beer Romance Empire (such as it is) and asked if we could collaborate. Typically, breweries will collaborate together and co-market their final creation. So that’s what we did. They made a Kölsch beer infused with guava and I wrote a novella about it using my existing characters. A super fun experience and one I hope to try again, perhaps with one of the many breweries right here in Michigan.
About the Author:
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, brewery founder, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in 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. With plots 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. She is represented by Erin Niumata, Folio Literary Management.
Keep up with her on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. Learn more at her website.
“Brewing Passion” is a unique new romance series from Totally Bound Publishing set in the trending world of the craft brewery. Meet the owners, employees and friends of Fitzgerald Brewing as they live, love, lust and laugh their way through the ups, downs and sideways shifts of small business ownership.
And coming in September 2017: GRAVITY