Sunday, July 30, 2017

Avocados and Monsters

Avocados and Monsters

Who knew such a simple thing could spur a writing assignment? 

Yesterday, I attended a writer’s convention hosted by “Cleveland Inkubator” in (you guessed it) Cleveland, Ohio.  The event was held at the Cleveland Public Library and if I had more time, I would have loved to have had a chance to look around.  What a beautiful building!

One of the workshops I attended was about innovative story structure.  We were given the short story “How I Liked the Avocados” by Wendy Oleson as an example.  Using something as simple as avocados she’s able to form a complete picture.

The instructor gave us subjects to make lists for.  Some of the words we were given are as follows:

POISON: (my list) words, memories, food, fat addictions, family, nerves, stresses

BATHING SUITS: (m list) bikini, wishful thinking, one piece, board shorts, skin, water, chlorine

There were more, but you get the idea.  We were then told to take one of these lists and using the concept from the Avocado story - write something.  I’d like to share mine with you.  For the “Monsters and Mythological Creatures” subject the first thing that came to mind was Sesame Street. 

The RED monster:  He has a pet goldfish and sings the alphabet real well.  He speaks in first person but that’s ok, so do you.

The GREEN monster:  Your shoes aren’t LeBrons.  Your clothes aren’t designer.  Your hair is curly but you wish it were straight.  The only thing you and the ‘cool’ kids have in common is you both want what the other one has.

The YELLOW monster:  When is the test? Did you make the grade? Will you be the quarterback or should you have tried out for the band?  Will you get asked to the prom?  Which college should you choose?  Will you get accepted?  Or should you just work in fast food for the rest of your life?

The RAINBOW monster:  Freedom from your parents. So much to learn.  So many people not like you.  You want to know more.  Which community do you belong in?  The world is your oyster you just hope you can pay for it.

The PINK and BLUE monsters:  They’re sticky and whiny and stinky.  They require food and clothes and trips to the doctors and dentist.  School plays, baseball games, birthday parties, prom dresses, weddings, and grand-monsters. 

The SILVER monster:  Can come at any time.  Spend time with your monsters because this one’s the end.

I know – it could use some tweaking but I had fun with it. 

I have another writing assignment from the other workshop I attended but I’ll save that for the next blog.

Update on book 2! 
The Point Guardian will be coming in January (if all goes as planned).  The exact date is not known yet but I will update everyone when I know.

I’m looking forward to attending my second Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity convention in Maryland this September 8-10.  If you live anywhere around there, check out the website and the times for book signings and meet and greets will be listed.

Also, remember Center Courtship is still available on Amazon!  If you've already read it, I'd love it if you could take a second and leave a review.  If you haven't read it - you have about 6 months to get it in before the second one comes out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pre Three-monthiversary

In scrapbooking, there is a term called pre-scrapping.  Or at least my friends and I came up with it when I was really into scrapbooking.  Pre-scrapping was when you purchased stickers, and paper, and other decorations for pages that would adorn a page for an event that hadn’t happened yet.

It was a risky move, buying stuff ahead of time.  Were you really going to have that much fun at the aquarium you planned to visit next month?  Could Disney possibly be so exciting you needed to buy a whole new Mickey-inspired book to put all the pictures in six months ahead of time?

Well, I’ve decided to pre-celebrate the release of my book.  In exactly three months from today my book will be released!  Center Courtship will be in- or be able to be in the hands of strangers.  What an amazing feeling that will be!

I know I’ve pestered a lot of my friends and family about this book coming and I wanted to show how sorry I am by offering you all a little peace offering.  You will find below a snippet from the first chapter of Center Courtship.  

Just a little heads up - this took a lot out of me to share.  I was going to do the whole chapter but I really wasn't sure if you'd read it and say "I need to read more of this!" or would you say "that was awful now I know never to buy that!"  

If it were the latter I'd feel horrible and lose all faith in humanity.  I'd start drinking... I might dabble in recreational drugs, risky behavior, and send my life into a horrible downward spiral of awfulness.  I know you don't want to be responsible for all that so I really hope you like it.  Or at least fake it well.  

Please follow me at the links on the right of the blog page, and go to Amazon to pre-order my book today.

Center Courtship
By: Liza Brown
This work is owned by Liza Brown.  To contact the author, please email her at:
To purchase the complete book on Amazon, please go to:

Chapter 1 Teaser

My phone rang.  The display told me it was my sister-in-law.  Mae? I heard Ginas voice with a rapid breath before I even had a chance to say hello.
What is it, Gina? I could tell immediately something was wrong.
Its Brandon, she sniffled.  Hes been hit by a car.
Brandon is my nephew.  Not having children yet myself, he and his brother, Mitchell, had been my favorite kids in the world.  Brandon was 12 and Mitchell was 5, and I loved spoiling them rotten.  What do you mean hit by a car?! I said with a gasp.  Aaron covered his mouth in horror.
He was outside with Mitchell playing basketball.  The ball rolled into the road, Mitchell ran out to get it, but Brandon pushed him out of the way of traffic and he got hit by the car instead, oh Mae!
How is Brandon? I asked nervously.
Hes conscious.  I think he broke bones, who knows what else Mae.  My baby, she began to cry full force.
I felt a tear run down my cheek.  Aaron reached across the counter, grabbed a tissue from a nearby box, and handed it to me.  What do you need me to do, Gina?  I can come right now and do whatever you need.  Do you need a ride to the hospital?
No, Max is here, hes driving. They took Brandon by Air Bear to Akron.
What the heck is Air Bear, Gina?
Its Akron Childrens Hospitals helicopter.  They call it Air Bear.  She seemed to think this was something I would know.
Why didnt you ride in the copter with him? I asked.
Your brother and I are both too shaken up right now to be driving alone.
Yeah, that makes sense.  Wheres Mitchell? I asked, trying to figure out what I could do.
Hes with my mom.
Ok, try to calm down, Gina.  Ill leave here and meet you in Akron."
No, Mae I have something I need you to do and I dont know how to ask you, she said with a combination of nervousness and tears in her voice.
Anything Gina, you know that.
Do you know what today is?
I wracked my brain.  No, what day is it?
Mae, this is the day Brandon is supposed to meet Elsu!
My heart dropped suddenly for Brandon.  Elsu was the big favorite for the new team.  Brandon had been a fan since Elsu played for Ohio State.  Hed played the last few years in Phoenix, but when the new team was announced he made it clear that he wanted to come home.  Brandons room was a shrine to the man.  Posters, news articles, tennis shoes, basketballs, and jerseys covered every available space.  He even had a one-of-a-kind Whoopsters afghan that Ginas mom had made for him just days after the logo and mascot were revealed.  
The schools in the area had run an essay contest for kids who were interested in meeting Elsu Benjamin.  Brandon worked tirelessly on that essay and created a masterpiece.  When it was announced on the last day of school before summer that he had won, a permanent smile had become etched on his face from that day forward.  I had been praying that Elsu was everything Brandon was hoping.  I would have hated to see his dreams crushed because Elsu turned out to be an arrogant ass.
Cant you reschedule? I asked Gina.
No, the season starts next week, and Elsu wont have any time.  The only thing Brandon said after he was hit was I wont see Elsu,’” said Gina sadly.
I hesitated briefly, wondering what in the world Gina had planned for me.  Where do I come in? I asked finally.
Mae, I need you to go to our house and grab the brown paper bag of stuff thats on the dining room table and take it to Elsus house."
Gina, seriously?  You know thats not my kind of thing.  I dont do people.
 Mae, you work in a public place, said Gina.
Yeah, and I dont usually have to deal with customers. Thats Bonnies job, I said.
All you have to do is take the stuff to his house in Independence, have it signed, and bring it back.  Think about Brandon!  She knew I'd do anything for that kid.
Ok, fine.  What's the address?
Ill text it to you, you have to be there at five, and Mae, she sniffed, thank you!
Youre welcome, go take care of Brandon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Book has Dropped

That's right!!

The long-awaited Center Courtship has officially gone live for pre-order on Amazon!

Every time I take another step toward the big day (September 15, 2016) - I say THIS is what makes it real!

But still - I haven't held it in my hands.  I can NOT wait for that.  I think then it will feel real.

With the release of the book to Amazon, I have done a few things as far as getting the word out.  First of all I have set up an author page.

I have used a site called "Copromote" to get the cover and link in front of more than 31,000 people on Twitter.  I've even gotten followed by some important people in the basketball world and am hoping to use that to my advantage in the near future.

I paid some real money to promote the book on Facebook and am rather impressed with how many people have seen it in the last few days.  As of this writing - over 2,700 new people have seen my page!  Of course not all of them have 'liked' it - but even that number has increased a lot.

I've placed the book on various book promotion sites on Facebook and traded likes for likes on other sites.

I'm starting a list of places to call to set up book signings and setting up book club meetings for after the book has released.  So if you have a place you'd like to see me sign books, leave a message in the comments below and I'll see what I can do!

Everything I've done is getting me closer and closer to the final goal - getting my words in the hands of strangers.  A bonus to that would be that the strangers who read my work actually like my work!  It seems so basic, but facing criticism is my greatest fear.  I don't do that well.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.  


Do you love it?  Because I do!  Not only is it perfect, but my publisher really listened to a concern I had and fixed it!  I love Intrigue Publishing!

I know it's not a lot - but that's just a little sexy snippet for you to enjoy.

And of course, the back blurb for the book!  Come on, who doesn't love a 6'10" wrench?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Brandon takes over part 2

Hi everyone!  Aunt Mae said Goddess Brown told her I could write another blog!  I hope that’s ok.  I like writing.  I’m really good at it.  Or at least that’s what Aunt Mae says. 


I entered a contest at school a few months ago to meet Elsu Benjamin!  Do you know who Elsu is?  He’s a basketball player!  He’s the best basketball player in the entire world!  He played for Ohio State for a couple years and then went to Phoenix to play.  He’s been there for a few years but now he’s going to be coming to Massillon to play basketball at the new arena they just built!  Massillon is about to be home to the Massillon Whoopsters – or Owls, for short.  I can’t wait to see them play!
Aunt Mae said I should share with you how I won the contest so I’ll copy it here.  She said Goddess Brown would be impressed. 

                I sent that letter in to the contest and I just found out at school yesterday that I won the contest!!  I get to go to Independence, Ohio and meet Elsu and take a tour of his big house!  I also get special seats to the first game of the season this fall.  I can’t wait to meet him with my mom and dad and little brother, Mitchell.

                Don't believe me?  Here's the certificate to prove it!  Elsu even signed it!  I know his signature, because I'm a big fan and his signature is on my shoes, and on some of my other stuff so I know it's official!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I've seen it!!

I'm so excited!!!  I got to see the final image for my cover!!  It is amazing!!  Not only did they perfect it - but they listened to my concerns and acted on them!  I can't say enough about how wonderful Intrigue Publishing has been to me!

Like I said in my video, I can't show you - yet.  But I will let you know when I can!  Believe me, there will be excitement and fun involved!!!

Come follow me at my Facebook page where I will probably post most updates regarding the cover release.  Liza Brown

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm an author

Since it's widely accepted that you can't put anything on the internet that isn't true, I guess the title above is accurate.  It's such a weird sensation to introduce myself as such, but now that I've approved the cover for Center Courtship, I guess it's kind of official!  I wrote a bunch of words, some people liked it, and the name on the book is going to be mine and not Author Authorson.  Although, I'm sure Author is a fine individual.  The words inside that book will be mine!  All mine!  I just can't wait to hold it in my hands and cradle it like the baby it is!

A little about my journey.  Because that is what this blog is called.

A few years ago, this story started floating around my head and after some mental tweaking, I decided to write it out.  

At first, I went through the required internal argument of "can I even?"  I don't mean the teenager's lament of not being able to 'even'.  I meant - could I even do this?  

I decided to do a practice run by writing a fan-fic mini-story using the characters from Fifty Shades.  I realized I enjoyed creating that story and the few people who read it really seemed to enjoy it so when I was partially finished with that, I started with that floater in my brain.   

Floaters... get it?

I had a rough time transitioning between the two when I was writing both at the same time – as they’re written from P.O.V.'s but I finally finished the FF and got really busy on what was then named The Asparagus Embarrassment.  I finished it up and shared it with a number of friends and family and I got some really favorable reviews from them so I figured ‘what the heck – let’s do this thing’ and sent it out to a number of publishing companies. 
Friends in writing groups warned me of the rejections, but the first few hurt anyway.  After some self-deprivation I got back to work sending out queries to publishers and in September of 2015 Intrigue Publishing asked to see ‘the rest of the story.’  I was told it would be about a month before I’d hear from them again.  Two weeks later, they asked for book two.  They said it would be another month, the following week I got a contract! 

I walked on air those first few weeks.  An air of disbelief.  But it was still a squishy, fluffy cloud of excitement. 

The book has gone through a bit of a change since then, after their editor looked at it and made some suggestions to help make it better.  I will admit, I was a bit upset by all the changes they wanted to make, but I am glad they did because I think it’s a lot better now than it was. 

As I said before, the original title of the book was The Asparagus Embarrassment, but we decided to go with a title that was more all-encompassing of the theme of the story.  That is why it is now Center Courtship. Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t keep talking about asparagus.  Seriously, it’s yummy! 

Liza Brown

Friday, April 15, 2016

Brandon Takes Over

Hi everybody!  I’m Brandon!  I’m Mae’s nephew!  She told me that our creator (Goddess Liza) said I could take over the blog every once in a while.  So here I am!

I’m 12 years old and my dad (Max) is Aunt Mae’s older brother.  My mom is Gina and my little brother is Mitchell.  He’s five.  We have two dogs Jersey, and Jezebel.  They're big St. Bernards.

I’m so excited for school to be out in a few weeks!  Being in sixth grade is hard work.

Let me tell you a little about my aunt.  Aunt Mae is the best!  She babysits me and my brother a lot.  Sometimes we go over to her apartment and hang out, and sometimes she comes here to my house. 

When we go to her apartment, my mom always makes us bring healthy food with us because Mae never has anything that my mom approves of in her fridge.

  I always say it’s OK because she has like every different kind of cereal in her pantry and she always keeps our favorite ice cream in her freezer.

  She has three different pizza places on speed dial on her phone and they all know her by name.  She even lets my little brother order for us sometimes.

When we stay at my house, she plays video games with me and my brother and goes out to play basketball with me in my driveway.  She plays H.O.R.S.E. with me and she always wins.  She’s really good, even though she claims she doesn’t like basketball.

In a few months, Massillon will have a new pro basketball team here and my favorite player in the whole world will be on the team!  Elsu Benjamin played for Ohio State and then went to Phoenix to play for the Suns.  He’s excited to come back to Ohio to play since the Cavs were still trying to find a home after what happened in Cleveland a while ago.  So they ended up moving to Cincinnati while he was at OSU then he got drafted to Arizona.  I can’t wait to see him play.  Dad even got season passes to see the Whoopsters so we can go to all of the games. 

My dad owns the apartment where Aunt Mae lives.  I like to play hide and seek in the basement with Mitchell.  My dad says it’s not safe, but Aunt Mae says it’s OK since she’s always playing with us.

Her two neighbors are Mr. Arnold and Miss Colette.  They’re really nice.  Mr. Arnold always give us candy and even gives us money on our birthdays.  This one time, Colette dyed my hair orange and black stripes without mom’s permission!  Aunt Mae thought it was funny.  Mom was mad because picture day at school was the next day.  Oops!

My little brother likes to go to work with my aunt.  He loves cars and Aunt Mae owns a chop shop.  She’s the boss and she has a bunch of guys who work for her.  They’re really nice.  The one guy (Steve) taught me how to change oil in Aunt Mae’s truck, Little José.  Aunt Mae was really proud of me when I told her I did it – she even gave me $20! 

Well, that’s all for now.  I hope you like my blog post, I’d like to do it again.

                                                                Brandon Mitchell