Did the Thing! November edition

didthethingSo we did the things this month. Not all the things we wanted to do, but a lot of what we wanted to do, plus some stuff we didn’t think we were going to get to. So this Did the Thing is to the things you surprise yourself with by getting done.

We survived NaNoWriMo, even if we didn’t quite manage to make that post-a-day about it (Sorry about that). We may not finish a full draft of the story before December 1st, but that’s okay. We’ll keep going until we do.  Besides, we achieved the point of the excercise for us: to have fun with and focus on a story we might not otherwise fit into our writing schedule.

We have a really good reason, though: we’re not quite done with Half Lives yet because we got a new burst of energy on Love in Los Angeles Book 4.  Racheline and I spent last weekend wandering around New York City doing book research, and solved the thing we had been completely stuck on over really amazing Ethiopian food.  We’ve got a lot of adding, deleting, and rewriting to do, but we’re getting it done and now the story’s singing.

So here’s to being flexible, and celebrating the things you got done, even if they weren’t the things you planned to do. Let us know, whether it’s pounding through the last few days of NaNoWriMo or surviving Thanskgiving with your family — what’s the awesome thingy weren’t sure you were going to do, but totally did this month?

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Thank you

About a year ago, Erin & I got the yes from Torquere on Starling. It was Thanksgiving weekend, she was at a bar in Rochester, and we’d finally decided enough time has passed beyond the deadline Torquere promises a response in that we dropped Kristi, the submissions editor, a note.

Turns out, she had already emailed us about Starling a month earlier.  After some confusion and some frantic texts between Erin & I, we found that original email in our spam folder. This is why I periodically tweet ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER; Torquere’s yes on Starling is not the only publishing yes that has filtered into spam for us on accident. Then there was a lot of jumping up and down before we got back to work.

At that point, having told no one other than our partners about Starling, we were closing in on finishing Doves, the second book in the series which we’ll begin blogging about next week.

We’ve had a lot of milestones. We’re milestone oriented people, and they keep us going. But we’ve been perhaps keenly aware of the one year anniversaries of starting Starling and of finishing it, and, now, of getting the yes.  Mostly they come and go without much fanfare other than some amusement from us, an occasional blog post, and a few emails telling each other to get back to work.

Tonight, we’re deep into book 4, and a little preoccupied with book 2.  Having spent a lot of editorial time with it recently, we’ve been reminded that as much as we say Starling is an angry book, what we actually mean is that Doves is a furious book.  It’s dark and it’s difficult and it’s got a massive bouquet of HEAs waiting for you at the end.

And that’s where the holiday season comes in. Because we’re thankful. To our partners who put up with everything from the time-sink to our working on drafts of stories that aren’t even up their alley from our mobile phones in the most inappropriate locations and circumstances you can imagine. To our families, who do things like obsessively check our sales rankings so we don’t have to, even if they can’t really believe — but mostly don’t care — what we write.  And to our friends who listen to us freakout about … well, pretty much everything.

We’re also thankful for the publishers that trust us to write dark, to write real, to write difficult, and to take tropes and squeeze them until they burst into something else. The wonderful publishers who have also forgiven us for the times we didn’t know to regularly check our spam filter are also a huge bonus.

Finally, we’re thankful for readers who have been open to taking a chance on new authors and strange stories and genre choices that may be way out of their comfort zones. We are grateful for your time, energy, enthusiasm, reviews, event attendance, reblogs, tweets, website visits, and willingness to spend time and money on the people who live in our heads.

We can’t do this without you, and we wouldn’t want to.

Thank you.

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Sunday Sundries: Sales, New releases, and More

  • From now through midnight November 27, 2014 EST, everything in the Torquere store is 20% off with code thankful2014. This includes Starling and “Lake Effect.” Torquere is also offering a number of free reads at present, so it’s a great time to visit the site and discover some new authors.
  • Starling is on the Goodreads Listopia list for Best M/M Book by a Debut Author of 2014 in the M/M Genre. If you’re a Goodreads user and feel inspired to vote, you can do so here.
  • Also if you are a Goodreads user, don’t forget you can now add Doves, Phoenix, and several of our other upcoming releases to your To Read lists. On December 17, Torquere’s Santa’s Little Kinkster‘s anthology will be out, which will contain our Liam-focused Love in Los Angeles novelette Evergreen. (You can see a tiny version of the SLK / Evergreen covers in our banner, but we’ll officially share the large version of the cover along with Evergreen‘s blurb soon!)
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Want your books on a Cyber Monday LGBTQ+ shopping list?

On December 1, we’re putting up a biiiiiiiiiiiig post on Avian30 for Cyber Monday, linking people to LGBTQ+ (romance) books books for their holiday shopping needs

Want to be on the list?

Please follow the directions below.  If you mess it up, I will try to include it anyway, but it’s harder for me so:

1. Send an email to erin.and.racheline@gmail.com

2. Subject line should read:

Cyber Monday – [book title] – [content groups] – [heat level/audience/genre]

Include the dashes, do not include the brackets.

Content groups (choose as many as you want): F/F, M/M, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, LGBTQ+, Ace, Poly, Kinky

Heat level/audience/genre (choose as many as appropriate): YA, NA, Non-romantic/erotic, Romance, Erotica, SF/F, Mystery, Contemporary, Historical


Cyber Monday – Starling – M/M, Bisexual, Poly – Romance, Erotica, Contemporary

3. In the email, write your author name, the Amazon URL of your book, and a once sentence description/teaser. If it’s too long for a tweet, it’s too long.

Please don’t add any niceties.  Just the information requested.


Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae


Can Alex find his own happily ever after when the whole world is watching?


AND I MUST GET THE EMAILS BY NOON EST NOVEMBER 29th, if I’m going to code all this.

Cool?  Cool.

P.S. — We have over 60 submissions so far! But we are desperately in need of more books with F/F, bi, trans, and asexual content.  If you know of relevant titles please pass this on to those authors. Although we continue to welcome material from any and all authors of LGBTQ+ content.

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Do the Thing! Even if you’d rather pass out

Do the thingThis past Saturday, I did a reading at Lady Jane’s Salon Silver Spring. It was the first reading I’d done of words that I wrote since my junior year of high school. It was my first public presentation of anything, period, since my first year of grad school. I really, really, really did not want to do it. I am not an extrovert, I am not a loud person, I am not gregarious. I like being behind a keyboard, not a podium.

Racheline took pity on me and made me a sample recording of the passage I wanted to read. I practiced for my cats (they were unimpressed). I spent the train ride to the La Madeleine’s, where the reading was, practicing and trying not to freak out.

And then…it was awesome. I didn’t fall flat on my face. I spoke loud enough that nobody had to shout “we can’t hear!” from the back (Have had that happen.) The crowd actually laughed at a couple of points. I didn’t feel like an imposter, I felt like an actual author who was reading from their actual book and doing a damn good job of it. And at the end, I actually sold books!

If it had gone miserably, though, I still would be writing this post. This post isn’t about how when you get up to do the thing you really, really are scared of doing, that all the terror falls away. It doesn’t. It’s also not about how it’s all totally going to work out because let’s face it — I could have totally fallen flat on my face. It’s not even about how facing your fear makes you stronger (although I think it does, a little; or at least shows you the parameters of your abilities, which is useful if nothing else). It’s also not just about public speaking.

It’s about that, if you have to do the thing you really, really are scared of doing, you are actually going to make it out the other side, more or less intact. It may not seem like it, but that presentation or job interview or performance is actually going to be over, and you can breathe a sigh of relief and say I did it. Which is the other point: It’s probably going to go way better than you think it’s going to.

So what’s your Thing that has got you terrified? We’ll give you a pat on the back and tell you you’re gonna do just fine.

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NaNoWriMo: Days 14-15

At 20,551, we’ve kind of painfully fallen below NaNo par for now, but since we don’t think the final story is going to be much longer than 30K, we are (I am) quelling my internal Hermione and not getting hung up on the grade word count for now.

Part of the slow is that we’re still battling various sick/busy/recovering from the sick/busy-ness. Part of it is that now we’re back to being able to look at the story something like full-time, we’re starting at the beginning and doing an editing pass. We don’t normally do this until we get to the end of the story and have what we usually call a “Draft 0.5,” but in this case, with the interruptions we’ve dealt with and the multiple discoveries we’ve made about the stories in the last few days, it seems warranted.

To get an idea of what our editing passes look like: It’s all the notes. Everywhere. In-text and in the margins. Behold the horror (And, yes, we’ve managed to find a new title for it: Half Lives):



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NaNoWriMo: Days 10-13

Falling down slightly on these updates, thanks to a combination of con crash (the fall was busy) and me reacting really poorly to the time change or, more specifically, the light change, but after today we should be on the ball again with the daily posts. 20,015 words, which puts just a bare 15 above par but we’ve never dropped below it yet!

And now, we finally, finally have the last parts of the plot that were giving us despair worked out (there was a lot of despair) are worked out, so we’re gonna start posting snipped and screenshots etc, of what’s still very much a WIP.

The following are the opening paragraphs of what we still haven’t been able to come with a better title for than The Court Quadrille. It’s still kind of a hot mess but hey, this is what first drafts are for:


Chapter 1

“I can’t believe you don’t think this is boring,” Myles says before punctuating his general distaste for watching his sister be fit for her wedding dress by biting sharply into an apple. They’ve been here, in the luxurious encampment designed for their transfer to [kingdom/palace/something] for days.  If he weren’t relatively sure [the lands their parents rule — some shit that doesn’t sound like a bad faerietale] are strategically valuable, he’d be a bit concerned that they are merely being fattened up for slaughter.  As it is, a wedding still isn’t what he had in mind for their coming of age ceremony.  Wil is at least vaguely intrigued by their moving up in the world.  Myles is just annoyed by the whole thing.  

“Regardless of whether it is boring,” Wil says with all the sharpness of an older sibling that has never let Myles forget that she is seven minutes his senior, “These are some of our first official duties as heads of state.”

Myles glances around at the various staff.  Right now, they’re not heads of anything, and Wil is being something of a twit.  He doesn’t want to point out either of those things with an audience, however.  It’s much more pleasant to watch the bee crawling up his wrist to get the juice from his apple.

At least, until one of the attendants shoos it away with a flick of a fan and a disapproving look at Myles. Myles slumps back on the stack of pillows piled on the divan and sighs.

“I can’t believe we’re only marrying one person.”

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