The Write Pet: Cats, Death, and Cat death

(Some sadness ahead)

Chip

Chip disapproving of my doing work over Christmas, 2013.

This morning at my day job, I got an email from my dad: Chip is still alive but I don’t think he has many days let. I’m starting to think he’s near the point where it’s selfish to try to keep him going.

Which makes this either the worst day or the best day to write a post about my pets and my writing.

I replied to the email, telling my dad to do what he thought was right, and then I went to the bathroom and cried. No matter how many times you go through it — and I’ve said goodbye to a number of pets by now — cat death sucks.

Chip is my cat; we got him and his brother, Tuck, when I was 14. He and I haven’t lived in the same house since I left for college almost a decade ago, but every time I come home to visit he waits for me by the door, flops his 18-pound, orange-and-massively-fluffy self on the floor, and demands his ears be scratched. I’ll miss him.

But I’m pissed at the universe that only gave him twelve years on this particular plane of existence. Cats may have nine lives, but I want more of Chip’s to be with me. Or at least for him to get a few years longer in this one. I’m pissed at cancer. I’m pissed at surgery that won’t work and chemo that would just make him miserable. I’m pissed at myself that I’ve only been home once in the last six months, and won’t get to see him again. I’m pissed at death.

Read more at The Write Pet.

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5 Lessons Learned from Doves

Doves CoverDoves, has been out for a few weeks (and is now available in paperback!). One of our favorite parts of the writing process is that we learn so much about a story once it’s out of our hands and into the hands of readers. And as readers have responded to Doves, we’ve learned more about ourselves, our audience, and the story that exists between us.

  1. Victor is incredibly polarizing. Which is not a shock to us, at all, really, but we’re continually fascinated (and gratified) at the number of people who can’t stop staring at Victor and poking at the things he does, even if they hate him. And in Doves, even more so than in Starling, people either adore Victor or despise him with an intensity that continues to startle us.
  2. Chekov’s gun doesn’t go off in Doves, but readers keep expecting it to. Doves is a dark, angry book, and our readers apparently expected it to keep getting darker and angrier than it even was. Which apparently means our readers think we’re even more screwed up than we actually are. Which is flattering, we think?
  3. At the same time, Doves apparently broke some of our readers. We’ve heard from people who have had to read it slowly, or take lots of breaks, in order to get through it, because it hits too close to home. To some extent, we’re not shocked — there are definitely scenes we had to get up and take a walk after we wrote them, to get space from what just happened on the page. But Doves is resonating with readers in a deeper way than we even hoped.
  4. Not everybody’s up for a threesome, or at least the particular threesome that shows up in this book. Which is cool! People either loved or hated a particular adventure in Doves — sometimes for what it was, and sometimes for how and why it happened.
  5. Liam/Alex/Paul still isn’t a love triangle, but people keep thinking it is. To be fair, sometimes Paul thinks it is too, so they do have a point. Doves is about making relationships work with whatever rules you need. Liam, Alex, and Paul aren’t involved in a love triangle in any traditional sense, but there’s a deep and intense relationship going on between those three men, even if Paul struggles with jealousy and Alex has to learn how not to feel owned by his relationships.

Read more at Romance for the Rest of Us.

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Avian30 at Harper Collins Romance Festival 2015

This past weekend, Racheline were on Harper Collins’s Romance Festival 2015. The festival is in celebration of all things romance and erotica, and this year, with Valentine’s Day coming up, there was a special focus on all the different forms love and relationships take.

For our part, we wrote about polyamory and romance, and about making relationships work no matter how many people are involved:

Love triangles are a long-standing trope, not just in romance but in all sorts of entertainment. There are good reasons for this. They are compelling. They are easy to understand. And they hit our buttons about being competitive, about winning, and about being chosen.

But what if love triangle stories weren’t about having to choose? What if they were about trying to make the triangle work?

Our romances often feature polyamorous relationships. Frequently, we include polyamory in the b-plot involving secondary characters as a way of providing impetus for our main couples to examine monogamy and decide if it’s the right choice for them. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.

This engenders a range of reactions to our work: Some positive, some intrigued, and some very much opposed.  That’s okay, because we’re all looking for different things not just when we read, but when we imagine happily ever after.

Read more

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Coming May 2015 — Midsummer

Midsummer_FINALMidsummer, a May/December, gay-for-you backstage romance. Coming from Dreamspinner Press, May 2015.

Like our Love in Los Angeles series, Midsummer is a backstage story. But it’s a very different one.

When John heads to Virginia to play Oberon in The Theater in the Woods’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the last thing he expects is to become captivated by the actor playing Puck.  It’s not just that John is recovering from a recent divorce precipitated by a personal tragedy two years earlier; it’s that John, up until now, has never found himself attracted to men.

While his interest in Michael may be a surprise, it’s the first good one John has had in a while, and they begin a torrid affair that quickly becomes the talk of the summer stock season.

But when Michael finds a skull in the lake on the theater grounds, John is forced to explain their relationship to the local police. The discussion exposes cracks in their relationship related to gay identity and politics.

As they muddle through these concerns, in part with a successful date at Richmond, VA gay bar, the tragedy in John’s past eventually comes to light.  Incensed that John had not told him this key detail of his history and worried that he’s just a mid-life crisis or rebound relationship, Michael breaks off the affair.

John is gutted and utilizes his friendships with the rest of the theatrical troupe to find out more about Michael’s own history in order to win him back.

Michael, it turns out, has a family secret of his own….

Pre-order coming in April!

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Best Gay Romance 2015 now available!

Best Gay Romance 2015You can now get Cleis Press‘s Best Gay Romance 2015 edited by Felice Picano, who is basically one of the founders of modern gay lit.

Erin and I are thrilled (and still a little startled) to have our story “Second Chances” included as part of this anthology.

About Best Gay Romance 2015

Gay romance is coming into full bloom in the wake of DOMA’s fall and the spread of marriage equality across the land. New series editor Felice Picano has rounded up the luminaries of gay fiction for their takes on the promises of new love and the surprises of long-term relationships. Known for changing the landscape of gay literature, Picano reveals himself at his finest when it comes to the subject of love and sex. The stories in this volume range from the gritty to the fantastic, from the sweet and dreamy to sidewalk hard, with tales of missed connections, fantasies of vengeance and even a coolly sexy cowboy yarn. Tom Baker’s “Jury Duty” brings new meaning to the concept of jury tampering when deliberating over a case goes from ho-hum to a thrilling undercover romance. Two cowboys find a Brokeback love for each other while in pursuit along the Rio Grande in Dale Chase’s “Matters of the Heart.” In a meet cute for our times, Jay Mandal’s “To Dye For” follows two former classmates who bump into each other, and discover they like exactly the same thing—men! In Best Gay Romance 2015, Felice Picano gathers a sweepingly romantic collection of short fiction that is long on love.

About “Second Chances”

Pete thinks taking off the wedding ring from his dead husband seems like an appropriate gesture before going to bed with his new boyfriend, Isaac, for the first time, but when the ring won’t come off, he gets stuck answering the door covered in olive oil and lube.

Ebook: Amazon | B&N
Paperback: Amazon | B&N

More retailers coming soon! Add it on Goodreads!

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Do the Thing! – Fan-to-Pro and Fan-while-Pro

International_Fanworks_Day_-_EnglishThanks to everyone who attended the OTW chat on “Why Fanworks Should Be Celebrated” and asked questions about the fan-to-pro or fan-while-pro experience.

You can now read a transcript of the discussion at the OTW site. Topic include not looking at fanfiction at an audition for a professional writing life; not waiting to get chosen but submitting Do the thingyour original writing if you want to go pro; and how just like “reviews are for readers, fanfiction is for fans.”

We hope you enjoy!

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Join the celebration of International Fanworks Day

International_Fanworks_Day_-_EnglishAs part of the celebration of International Fanworks Day on February 15, the Organization for Transformative Works will be hosting a live chat with three authors who have written both fanfiction and published works.

I’m super excited to be a part of this along with Tara Sue Me and Cecilia Tan (who has been featured on this blog before), especially at a time when Starling has recently gotten it’s first fan art!

Why fanworks should be celebrated

February 8, 2015, 17:00-19:00 UTC (What time is that in my timezone?)

Moderator: Francesca Coppa, OTW Board director emerita

Guests: Racheline MalteseTara Sue MeCecilia Tan

The chat will be held in the OTW’s Public Discussion chatroom.

For anyone who can’t join the chat live the OTW expects to post a transcript of the event within 24 hours.

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