Cover reveal: Exchange of Power / “The Hart and the Hound”

exchangeofpowerOn September 16, our shifter novelette, “The Hart and the Hound” will be out as part of the Exchange of Power anthology from Torquere Press. This anthology contains both M/M and F/F stories.

Exchange: the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another. Power: the ability or right to control people or things

In matters of the heart, what happens when there’s an exchange of power, even for just one night?

Both veteran and new authors make up the eleven stories about the power shift between Doms/subs, vampires/werewolves, teacher/apprentice, Alpha/beta, Necromancer/zombie, superhero/arch nemesis, and incubus/medium.

In “The Hart and the Hound” Henry, a deer shifter and lead stag of his herd, encounters Davey, a wounded beta dog shifter from a dangerous pack. They form an unlikely alliance to protect their people and each other from Davey’s ex, the pack’s ill-tempered alpha.

You’ll be able to buy this story as either an ebook standalone, or as part of the whole anthology in ebook or paperback. Pre-order for the whole anthology ebook is now available here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200&products_id=4489.

Other options for both the whole anthology and the individual story will be available later this month.

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Love in Los Angeles: Extra — Liam & Victor

extraOnce each month, Erin and I send out a newsletter talking about recent releases, sales, and upcoming appearances. We also include a free story extra. These extras are either scenes actually excised from the books late in editing, or, in most cases, back- or side- stories we’ve alluded before and wanted to flesh out for our readers, or our own amusement.

To encourage you to subscribe to the mailing list (which you can do by filling in the box at right or by going here: http://avian30.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=3cd584baddadbcf7b7a80ba98&id=f7f636fc9f) we don’t share those side stories outside of the mailing list until many months later.

This is first one is about the very early days of the Liam/Victor thing, set before the start of Starling.

Starling SmallThe pilot wrap party is long and ridiculous.  Victor doesn’t let masses of people into his home often, but these events are an exception — tradition and luck and thank you all at once.

Invariably, people stay over.  Someone passes out drunk in a lounger not too close to the pool.  Someone else takes a couch, and will hopefully vacate before the rest of the house wakes in the morning.  The guest bedrooms exist for a reason.  And when Victor retreats upstairs to his own room…

There usually isn’t someone in it.  But Liam has been
making eyes at him all night, and now they’re apparently going to have to have this conversation, which is more unappealing for the fact that it is late, and Victor is tired, and he hates other people in his bedroom.

It’s a strange conversation.  Because they’re both saying true things, and neither of them are reaching the other’s conclusions.  Yes, Victor thinks Liam is beautiful. That’s one of the reasons he cast him. Liam is telling him nothing he doesn’t already know, and that is not a reason Liam should be in his bedroom uninvited, And yes, Liam really wants the show to get picked up and for Victor to be his boss, and why that’s an obstacle to sexual awesome, he doesn’t understand.

That’s the thing that catches Victor off-guard.  Liam isn’t being awful, or obtuse, or pushy, or trying to get ahead by sucking dick.  He literally does not get it.  And not because of all the ways in which Victor isn’t exactly interested, but because Liam can’t thread the conversation in any way Victor thinks it’s reasonable to expect.

Neither of them are that drunk, either.

So they talk about it, and a lot of other things, for hours. Victor sits in one of the chairs by the window, and watches Liam — who doesn’t sit, but instead paces the room, from the sitting area, around the coffee table, to the bed and back, over and over — as they talk.

Liam’s strange, but not stupid.  In some ways he’s weirdly savvy. Late into it, they kiss, because Victor is tired enough for that not to seem egregious, and because he’s starting to understand — after watching Liam’s amiable pacing — that this strange young man can only figure out how to map certain things by using his body.

Victor does kick him out after, but only as far as his office down the hall with the rather excessive couch. The guest bedrooms are, unfortunately, occupied by now, and he wants to keep Liam close anyway. His filing cabinets are locked as a matter of damn course, but it still feels like an act of trust to leave Liam there with a pillow and a stack of blankets. Victor does not share his bed, with anyone, ever.  But tonight Victor is fond, and puzzled, and — if the show gets picked up — now very much owed the rest of this creature’s secrets.

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Some thoughts about neurological difference in our series

Midsummer_FINALStarling SmallRecently, one of our readers asked me a fantastic question on Tumblr about Michael in Love’s Labours series.  While firmly a contemporary, not paranormal, series, the books contain lots of mgical realism and strongly suggest that Michael may be a changeling or at least wants people to think he may be a changeling.

The question was, “Do you guys ever think of Michael as otherkin?

And led to me to write this very long reply about autism and faerieland (which show up all over our work in lots of different ways) and what Michael from Love’s Labours has in common with Liam from Love in Los Angeles:

It’s certainly a valid interpretation and may be the answer.

But here’s the very weird thing: We have no idea what Michael’s deal is.  We know exactly as much about who/what/why he is as he does, and we come at it from largely the same place as he does – people are bothersome and melodramatic about it; he has certain coping strategies; he would like people not to freak out and make him get MRIs. MRIs make him mad.

I can’t tell you how often when writing LL 2, I would go “Maybe it’s migraines! Maybe it’s epilepsy! Maybe he’s a changeling! Who can tell!”

I think in many ways Michael in LL is the flip side of Liam in LiLA.

Liam’s autistic. And there are things about that that are good, and things about that that are neutral, and things about that are bad, and what those things are differ if you’re Liam or someone who has to engage with Liam.  It is a practical, non-mystical reality of his life, and always has been. He’s very excited he can talk and do things on his own and hire people to cover for all the stuff he can’t.

Michael, on the other hand, is sort of a living embodiment of mythologies people have at times used to explain autism and other forms of neurological variance. But he’s not autistic, and he doesn’t seem to have epilepsy, but something is definitely going on with his brain.

Maybe he really is fae. Maybe he would have been like this if his sister hadn’t died, but maybe not.  Maybe his older sister was like this too; maybe in her own way she died of it. Michael doesn’t know, and in many ways doesn’t care. He exists deeply in the present, sometimes to the exclusion of the passing of time.

Liam would be terrified of him.

They are both people who have to engage BS about other people’s ideas of exile.

If Michael knew the word otherkin he might use it.  He might also be wary of it. Does it make him more safe or less safe? Does it make other people take him more or less seriously? Would he want to be around other people like him or not?

I just don’t know.

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Six things Pride & Prejudice taught us about the romance genre while also ruining our lives

pride-and-prejudice-1995-restored-2010-x-250In our not quite yet a tradition of watching new-to-us romantic comedies and seeing what they can teach us about the romance genre, Erin and I recently watched the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. Although to be fair, it’s not really what we meant by romantic comedy, and we didn’t put it on — all six ultra-’90s hours of it — for the sake of this exercise.  Rather, I was goaded into it by friends because I insisted that Colin Firth in a wet shirt did nothing for me, and then I goaded Erin into it because no one should have to suffer alone.

The thing is, in the end, we loved it, despite a number of complaints, including that nothing happens in the first two episodes, and I was never a convert to the matter of the wet shirt.

In fact, we keep joking that it’s ruining our lives because we can’t stop talking about it for all sorts of completely absurd reasons. For example, my temptation to grow my hair out is useless at best, and while I do annually actually attend a Regency reenactment ball, my love for the period comes from Age of Sail material, and so I usually wear menswear to such events.  My making some sort of fluffy confection of a dress is so not on, because frankly, I have better things to be doing, like writing books. Also, my tits will never, ever look as good as Lizzie’s in the fashions of that day.

So without further ado, six things we learned about the romance genre watching Pride & Prejudice:

1. Getting chosen is really appealing.  I think we say this after everything we watch for this blog series.  But the fact remains.  And it’s not news to us.  After all, our Love in Love Angeles series is about the deconstruction of that trope.  But the trope may be more shiningly clear in Pride & Prejudice than in any other media we’ve consumed.

In Pride & Prejudice, marriage, and the right sort of marriage, is a mark of success, adulthood, worth, and beating the odds. It’s actually everything, and the miniseries makes no secrets about that. And while we can all say that’s archaic and we don’t relate to it, we do live in a world with the term “smug marrieds” and there was that unfortunate period in the ’80s where someone crunched some numbers incorrectly to say that women had greater odds of dying in a plane crash than finding a spouse after 30.  So really, we’re feeling Lizzie’s problems here.

2. The idea of girlishness is alluring. It’s alluring to perform and it’s alluring as an object of desire. Instead of hitting us with the “not like the other girls” trope that’s big in contemporary romantic comedies and rife in YA literature, here success comes from being a girl.  And it’s not that Lizzie is the best girl ever — she’s not.  But she’s one of many women in the story who all perform their girlishness differently.  That it’s okay to be what you are in the way that you happen to be it is a pretty sexy idea. And the lack of demonization of femininity — even if it’s in a story where femininity is enforced and involves a great deal of tedium and limited choice — is a nice change of pace.

3. What’s sexy in fiction is often still likely to be creepy, annoying, or weird in real life. We said this about Love Actually and it’s still true here.  Can you imagine being married to Mr. Darcy? I’m sure the sex is great, but the rest of it would probably be highly irritating.  And really, both Darcy and Lizzie should have been quit of each other permanently several times over. In real life these are your annoying friends who need to stop having their endlessly aggravating on-again-off-again thing that they swear is really going to work this time and probably isn’t.  Good thing this isn’t real life.

4. Nostalgia, which is a form of longing for what you can’t have, really turns a lot of people’s cranks.  For Erin, this was in the comfort food feel of the cheesy Masterpiece Theater vibes of the entire thing.  For me, it was a sense of Lizzie’s problems and the formality of the culture feeling perfectly modern to me (ten years at Miss Hewitt’s Class for Young Ladies? Yup. My life is an anachronistic car crash). The idea of nostalgia, of longing for a lost world, allows the reader/viewer to engage the story from a position of I could have had this if only… even when that’s not true at all.  But wow, it hurts so good.

5. Everyone loves a good class difference story.  It’s not just 50 Shades of Grey that deserves blame for the sexy billionaire trope.  I mean, have you seen Pemberly? That said, writing class difference stories — especially as an American when writing about America — is an exercise in murkiness as we tend to focus on wealth.  But the appeal of the class difference story isn’t just about money, it’s about manner, access, and expectations.

6. Sometimes, you just want to be rescued. Darcy charging in and solving everyone’s disasters at the end works because his motives include his own selfishness and making up for disasters he helped to create.  But it also works because Lizzie, like all women of that era, has limited resources beyond her own cleverness and fortitude in terms of being able to rescue herself.  It’s okay to write someone getting saved.  Sometimes, we all need saving, and that doesn’t have to be a sign of weakness or an emotionally unequal match.

Perhaps what’s most worth noting though is that while other media we’ve watched for this exercise has informed us structurally, what Pride & Prejudice really did for us was allow us to wallow in longing and desire in our new manuscript.  We tend to write sparely.  This miniseries helped us find the permission we needed to do anything but.

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Big sales at Dreamspinner and Torquere Press!

Starling CoverFor the rest of August, use code BTS2015 at TorqerePress.com to get 35% of everything in your cart.  This means you can get the entire Love in Los Angeles series to date (books 1 – 3 and the novelette Evergreen) for less than $14 total.

All our other titles are on sale too, including our titles in the ARe best selling anthologies They Do, First Timers, Santa’s Little Kinkster’s and Plaid Nights

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=550

LLcombo_smallMeanwhile, through August 29, everything at Dreamspinner is 25% off, which means you can get Midsummer and Twelfth Night for $2.99 each.  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=54_1433

 

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Sample and Hold (part of First Timers anthology) out now!

firsttimersThis came out yesterday, but Twelfth Night had us swamped!

Whole anthology:

First Timers brings you a collection of eleven stories about first experiences. From sweet and innocent to smoking hot, these stories capture the exhilarating feeling that something wonderful is about to happen.

Humor and passion blend in Rob Rosen’s “Come Hell or High Water,” Gacy Grant treats us to a heartwarming first in “The Pickup,” long-time friends become lovers in “The King’s Guard” by Evelyn Burkhardt and “One Sneeze, a Wish, Two Sneezes, a Kiss” by Jacey Mills, and revelations abound first time away from home in Andrea Dalling’s “What a Man Wants” and Helena Maeve’s “Initiation.” “Sample and Hold” by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese, Megan McFerren’s “Just Like That,” and Val Prozorova’s “Guitar Lesson” explore the intensity of a first coming out, first time, first kiss, while love can be found   where you least expect it in “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by McKay and “Finding Home” by Katherine Halle.

Whether contemporary or fantastical, past or present, a sweet kiss on a riverbank or reveling in the Bayou, these stories are all uplifting, fun, and did we mention hot?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/First-Timers-Anthology/dp/B013TNIJVG/

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-firsttimersanthology-1870410-166.html

Torquere: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4450

Just our story, “Sample and Hold”:

Nate may have a crossover hit with his first single, but he’s also a 19-year-old virgin who’s about to come out in Rolling Stone. But when Carson, the cocky sound engineer who’s helped put him on the map issues him one more challenge, Nate sees an opportunity he can’t refuse.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sample-Hold/dp/B013U8XQYU

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sampleandhold-1870425-149.html

Torquere: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_93&products_id=4463

Use BTS2015 to get 35% off your entire Torquere cart for the rest of August!

These links are all ebook only. The full anthology will be available in print soon.

Finally, I’d say this is the most self-indulgent thing we’ve ever written, but we have that shifter story coming out next month.

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Twelfth Night (Love’s Labours 2) — Out now!

And it’TwelfthNight_finals release day!

If you pre-ordered from Dreamspinner, you can go to your Dreamspinner account and download it now. If you pre-ordered from elsewhere you should have an email from that distributor.

If you haven’t snagged it yet:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Twelfth-Night-Loves-Labours-Book-ebook/dp/B0139K6ZVA

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-twelfthnight-1857858-149.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twelfth-night-racheline-maltese/1122445722?ean=2940151204088

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6728

Also available on Google Play, Kobo, and more! This is an ebook only release for now. It may be collected into a print volume or two with the rest of the series in the future.

(Also, I apologize in advance,this is one of two new releases we have today, so there will be a post for the other one up later today as well).

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