Being and coming out

If you’re LGBTQ+, and maybe if you’re not, you probably know that coming out is a process that never ends. Sure, maybe your parents, your friends, and your job know, but because we live in a culture that assumes heterosexuality, a lot of moments happen where coming out or going along with a not quite truth are in the cards.

And, no matter how comfortable you may be with yourself, no matter how open you hopefully have the luxury of being, and no matter how safe your community, sometimes, those moments are still really, really nerve-wracking.

I’ve been having a lot of those moments lately, for the first time in a very long time. And no, this post isn’t going to be a metaphor about writing romance — although, yes, people are weird about that too.

It’s just that I’m almost 42, been with my partner for 7.5 years, and don’t necessarily engage in a lot of casual social interaction; that’s one of the beauties of New York. A huge number of my friends are some sort of LGBTQ+, and right there is another reality of my queerness: I don’t actually deal with a lot of straight people.

I think this is a fairly common experience for lots of LGBTQ+ people, although it’s one I’ve had to explain to a few of the heterosexual readers of Starling. Yes, some gay/etc. people mostly have gay/etc. friends, and their whole worlds can, in fact, be a non-stop rainbow of LGBTQ+ magic. I mean, I live in a gay neighborhood and eat Big Gay Ice Cream. Really.

Anyway, lately, because of Starling, I’ve been having to deal with this coming out thing again.  Because I’ve been meeting people and networking in the LGBT and general romance communities, both on- and off-line.  And in many parts of the broad romance community queerness is not assumed.

I’ve been so visibly queer for so much of my life, that it’s completely weird to have people assume my partner is my friend or my sister.  I splutter, and I have no idea what to say.  Also weird?  Getting nervous before I post to Facebook groups to promote Starling that they might not be comfortable with gay content or that it will be held to a higher ratings standard.

After all, our cover features two men kissing, and to this day there are still publishers that give any gay romance their highest heat rating, regardless of the actual content of the book. Which to me just feels homophobic and like it’s suddenly 1987 all over again.

Yet more and more, I feel surprised that I’m surprised by all this. Progress doesn’t move at the same pace in all places and all communities, and it doesn’t move linearly either.  So I’m learning to send the reassuring emails that of course Erin & I can keep a discussion of our novel PG — even though it’s gay! —  just as Erin, who has only recently come out, is learning to navigate the maze of Random Verbal Contortions People Will Go Through To Avoid Making Erroneous Assumptions About Queerness That Would Actually Be Correct.

While I don’t believe what we write is political or any sort of blow for equality — they’re just stories we want to tell about screwed up people who have some stuff in common with us (besides, my blow for equality generally looks like giving money to Lambda Legal) — the personal is political.  And this weird journey of this book, and future books, existing, includes some very vivid reminders of just how true this is.

You never stop coming out.  But man, I never thought the degree to which I’d have to would accelerate because I helped write a romance series about Hollywood and the choices people make about their private lives when they’re on public display.

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25% off at Torquere!

Starling Covertd-lakeeffect1400To celebrate its 11th anniversary, Torquere is offering 25% off everything in its store with code Torquere2014.

That means you can get Starling for just $4.49 and “Lake Effect” for just $1.87.

The coupon is valid through this Sunday only.

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Do the thing! (Even though you’re totally going to screw it up)

Do the thingWow. It’s 11:33pm, and we just remembered it’s Monday and that it’s time for Do the thing!

Considering we’re now five days past our first book launch this seems like a good time to tell you what will happen when you Do the Thing!

Well, lots of things will happen, but the important one right now is this: Shit will go wrong.

A lot of shit.

A lot of shit no one cares about but you.

Stuff won’t happen when you think it will. There will be technical snafus. There will be instructions misunderstood. And you will be tired, and you will forget stuff, and it will all seem like the apocalypse.

None of it, however, actually is, even if some of it turns out to be a little cringe-worthy.

And the reason you need to know this isn’t to try to get things perfect or even to accept that you can’t.

The reason you need to know this is because a lot of us are really afraid of success. We don’t think we’ll survive it — either because it’ll be really big and scary or really anti-climatic (You know what you have to do after you get a book published? You get to go back to writing the next one).  I mean, holy crap, we just wrote a book about how fame makes someone’s life really weird.

But the reality is that our protagonist survives fame. Which almost certainly means you will survive your book release, your big audition, your dream job, and the way you or other people may screw all of those things up or at least find them kind of eh.

And on some level that sucks.  It’s totally balloon bursting.

But if succeeding isn’t the end of the world, and failing isn’t the end of the world, wow, there’s a lot less out there to stop you all of a sudden, isn’t there?

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Good news for Nook users

Starling CoverStarling is now available in ebook format at B&N for the discounted price of $4.99!

We hope to have news on the paperback release for you as soon as next week.

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Starling gets 5 stars from Carly’s Book Reviews!

Starling CoverOur blog tour begins in earnest today with Carly’s Book Reviews and it’s 5 stars! Carly writes:

“STARLING is a reader’s treasure that completely engaged me from the very beginning. I found myself talking to my kindle, offering advice, yelling, cringing, cheering and processing each emotional experience as if it was my own. The realities of life, love and self discovery that are presented in this highly character driven story are exceptional. STARLING is well written and develops at a slow but steady pace that perfectly complements its raw emotionalism. I was thrilled with this first offering in the Love in Los Angeles series and am eagerly anticipating further additions by this exciting writing duo!”

Wow.  Just wow!  We’re shocked and thrilled in the best possible way!

Please visit Carly’s site to check out the full review, enter to win a Torquere gift card, and see another excerpt from Starling.

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Release Day: Starling

Starling is here!

Starling CoverStarling

Amazon | AllRomance | Smashwords | Torquere Bookstore | Barnes & Noble

By Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

Be careful what you wish for…
When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.

Because the stars aren’t benign

Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends — and even the paparazzi! — quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.

But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.

You can get Starling now at AmazonTorquere BookstoreSmashwords, and AllRomance. Throughout today and the rest of this week, it will also become available at other major ebook retailers, including B&N. As that happens, we’ll update the links on our book page.

As always, reviews help improve a book’s visibility. We hope you will take a moment to review Starling on your favorite website(s) (e.g., Amazon, Goodreads, etc.) and encourage you to do the same for all your reading choices.


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Starling launch and blog tour

starling2Starling is almost upon us, so we wanted to let you know when and where you can buy the book, as well as about our upcoming blog tour stops.

Late tonight (Tuesday, September 9), Starling will become available as an e-book on Torquere‘s website (where it, and our short “Lake Effect” are both on sale for 20% off this week). Tomorrow (Wednesday, September 10), Starling will be available as an ebook on Amazon websites.  Over the next week it will become available on other major websites (i.e., All Romance, Barnes & Noble).  We expect the paperback edition to be available around September 17.  We will post updates with buy links on September 10, and once the paperback is available.

Where should you buy Starling?  Where it’s most comfortable for you to do so!  Purchases direct from Torquere are great because both us and our publisher earn more revenue from them.  Purchases on Amazon are great, because a good Amazon ranking helps a book get more attention.  Basically, if you buy our book, it’s great!  And what’s even better is if you review it or tell friends about it.  Word of mouth is key for all authors, especially those with small presses and in niche markets.  If you want to take the time to review Starling on Goodreads, Amazon, All Romance, or other sites, we are so grateful!

Meanwhile, we’re thrilled to be hosted on a range of blogs or our launch.  Our blog tour will include excerpts, posts from us about how we got this story (and survived writing it), and from some sites, reviews and chances to win free books or, in one case our protagonist J. Alex Cook’s signature beanie.

The schedule of where we’ll be is below, and we’ll update the links as we get the specific ones:

9/5: Heroes & Heartbreakers
9/5: Romance for the Rest of Us
9/9: Joyfully Jay
9/10: The Hat Party
9/10: Author Extra @ Romance for the Rest of Us
9/11: Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
9/11: Carly’s Book Reviews
9/12: Romance Lives Forever
9/13: Thoughts from a Yodeling Goat Herder
9/14: Wicked Wolves and Dreaming Dragons
9/14: Sharing Links and Wisdom 
9/17: An Indie Adventure
9/25: RomCon Contemporary Romance

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