New project, new contract… and it’s F/F!

While I’m holiday (a holiday consumed with editing, producing and behind devoured by sand flies) and Erin is recovering from hanging out with my cats and seeing Hamilton, we have some news!

We’ve just signed a contract for Desperate Needs, our first F/F romance to be published by Riptide Publishing probably in 2018. Desperate Needs will be part of a multi-author series of interlinked books that all center around a private social club for women who love women with branches in New York and Los Angeles.

Here’s the pitch blurb on the book (although P.S., character names may change because sometimes we’re persnickety like that):

Diane Darling is the daughter of a dynasty. Although she has been raised since birth to walk red carpets and carry on her parents A-list acting legacy, Diane fancies herself an auteur. There’s just one problem: Securing financing from a Hollywood money machine that only puts women in the director’s chair 10% of the time.

Diane thinks she’s found her big break when her parents’ connections lead her to Walter Bancroft, a successful producer responsible for two of the last decade’s Best Picture winners. But when he offers to pony up 80% of the funds she needs to film her movie, Diane finds out his largesse comes with strings–of the casting couch variety.

When Diane turns down the funds, Walter’s wife Cynthia, who has spent years watching her husband “help” creative women while her own life has been devoted to supporting Walter’s career, catches her on the way out. She hands Diane a business card for the Rose and Thorns and suggests Diane might find allies, and funds, there.

As Diane follows the lead provided to her by Cynthia, she encounters a whole world of female power players the Hollywood myth told her never existed. She also discovers that Walter has a long record of preying on women looking to get ahead. With the aid of Cynthia and her new friends, Diane sets about making her movie, bringing down Walter, and winning Cynthia’s heart for her very own.

We’ll be posting more about this series, including all the participating authors as they announce on their own social media!

Posted in books, ff romance, romance novels, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Did you know we’re self-publishing?

Okay, only a little. Mostly, we’re still working with the great teams at Torquere, Dreamspinner, Cleis, and more, but we’ve also begun to get our rights back on various short stories and have been re-editing them and re-releasing them.

While eventually we’ll release these titles with other distributors and do a collection of short stories you can also buy in print, right now, these two re-releases are available via Kindle Unlimited or for $.99 each on Amazon.

LakeEffect_cover

Lake Effect

https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Effect/dp/B01JHZ4VDK

When Kyle and Daniel return to their hometown to get married, they find themselves facing an obstacle course of family drama and small-town misadventure. Relatives misbehave, a reformed high school bully shares some surprising news, and the wedding party is in crisis.

But all the chaos only cements Kyle and Daniel’s desire… for each other and their own happily ever after!

This story previously appeared in They Do, an anthology published by Torquere Press, June 2014.

 

reluctant2The Omega’s Reluctant Alpha

https://www.amazon.com/Omegas-Reluctant-Alpha-Erin-McRae-ebook/dp/B01I0N3PQO/

When young omega and newly minted lawyer Andrew takes a job at a local Savannah law firm, he struggles to hide his uncontrolled shifting. Luckily for him, the firm’s owner, William, offers to help, ensuring they both get a lot more than they bargained for!

Previously appeared in His Animal Instinct: More Tales of Wild Pleasure, March 2016.

Posted in books, gay lit, Lake Effect, paranormal romance, shifters, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will & Jane… and a short personal history of desire and shame

389521This past weekend, I was in Washington DC for the OutWrite book festival, which meant Erin and I absolutely had to go see the Folger Library’s Will & Jane exhibit, about the construction of celebrity around both William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

Afterwards, I asked Erin if she wanted to write about it or if I should.

“You’re funnier,” she said.

Except I don’t think this post is going to be very funny.

From the time I was a little kid, my parents have, periodically, asked me what I’ve wanted and then told me why I didn’t actually want whatever was contained in my reply. Cabbage Patch Kid dolls were just a fad, I didn’t really want that for Christmas, did I?  The other girls at summer camp may have worn sexy underwear, but I didn’t want to be sexy, did I? Boys with eyeliner were all the rage, but I didn’t want to date someone like that, did I?

From ice cream cones to vampire novels, my desires — or the very idea that I had desires at all — were always suspect. I learned early to stare at things I wanted with a quiet longing. If my parents noticed and found my desires acceptable, they might offer to get it for me; if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be mocked. I kept the things I desired secret and safe. I kept them as talismans. And I kept them as shame.

Which brings us to the Folger.

Will & Jane is a small exhibit that even the most exhaustive viewing of could hardly take more than an hour. It acknowledges, frequently and without further explanation, fan fiction and other forms of fan production, highlighting the degree to which these terms are now common both in daily life and in academia. Objects of fannish devotion are displayed throughout the exhibit and include everything from porcelain figurines of legendary Shakespearean performers to a Pride and Prejudice board game.

Also Mr. Darcy’s shirt.

Yes, the shirt from the lake scene in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice which has resulted in such a scene existing in virtually all of the Pride and Prejudice adaptations since, despite not appearing in the original novel.

A lot of people were there to see the shirt.

Let’s face it, we were there to see the shirt.

Because when we heard about the exhibit, we went, “Well, this is funny. We should go. As romance writers, it’s our job.”

Also friends kept emailing us, so we kept having to email back: Yes. Yes. We know. The shirt Colin Firth wore in Pride and Prejudice. Yes, we’re going. Yes, we’ll tell you about it.

It’s a shirt in a glass case.

That’s it. That’s the whole story.

Except I couldn’t look at it. Like I can’t look at Cabbage Patch Dolls, lingerie, or ice cream, like I apologize for liking vampire novels and like I brace myself when my partner innocently and with all good intention asks me what I want for the holidays. Every year the question freaks me out a little less, but every year it’s still hard.

So I couldn’t look at the shirt. But what I could look at was the other women at the exhibit — and it was mostly women. They were braver than I. They could look at the shirt, and at the giant video screen playing the shirt clip. They took selfies with it and made friends with other women there to do the same things. I wondered what it was like to be women like them.

I am one of the hungriest people you’ll ever meet. Ambitious, driven. I want constantly and am considered peculiar for it often. But where I have found courage to talk about my ambitions despite what people think of ambitious women, I still largely lack courage to discuss my desires. Or really do much more than look, quietly, while hoping no one will notice.

Will & Jane is lovely and very funny exhibit about everything I care about — stories and marketing and the construction of fame and about how there’s really no meaningful divide between high and low culture. But it mattered to me mostly because it reminded me why romance novels matter.

They are about desire as it has so often been forbidden to us as women, as queer people, and as other marginalized identities that so often don’t get to desire and be desired if that desire and desirability doesn’t fit neatly into a white, male, heterosexual, cisgendered, able-bodied gaze.

I’m 43 years old. I’ve sold five romance novels and over a dozen romance novellas and shorter stories. I’ve been a sex worker and a model and a dancer and an actress. I’ve been looked at for a living. I’m even naked in a film with Nicole Kidman, so my ass was once made of light and dust and glowed on the big screen in movie theaters across the continent and beyond.

But I am still learning that it’s okay to want and that I don’t have to watch TV through my fingers or with a growing sense of dread if I find someone or something on the screen desirable.

And the only reason I continue to learn that it’s okay to look and to want and to talk about it is because of Romancelandia and the giddy women that populate it and fannish moments and events like Will & Jane.

Posted in events, genre talk, Uncategorized, washington dc | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Theater review: Hadestown

Hadestown New York Theatre WorkshopOver the long holiday weekend, I saw a production of Hadestown at the New York Theater Workshop. A folk-opera set somewhere in the rust belt during the depression, Hadestown joins the story of Orpheus and Eurydice with the story of Hades and Persephone into one of the most powerful, exciting, and disturbing meditations on power, freedom, and love that I’ve ever seen.

In Hadestown Persephone relishes her six months in the sun, bringing liquor and music to the surface, before her husband drags her back down. It’s during this period that Eurydice and Orpheus meet. But once in the underworld, it’s consistently clear that they are two people who, having once loved each other are now unavoidably furious with each other, and what looms between the is the story of who each of them are — Persephone inconstant; Hades powerful.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Eurydice is hungry. Is the hunger of poverty? Is this the hunger of someone overshadowed by her lover’s obsession with his talents? Is this the hunger of the ambitious? While lyrically the physical hunger of poverty is most clearly called out, these other issues are never absent and Eurydice eventually catches a train to Hadestown to have her hunger met.

There, she signs a contract to work for Hades and when he spits her out onto the factory floor after whatever “happens behind closed doors” the other women on the factory floor (the Fates who are the chorus throughout the show) tell her she’s trapped here now. Forever. Eurydice is shocked. She’s different. Special. He said! Behind closed doors….

Don’t they always?

As the rest of the show unfolds, we see how the talents of supposedly great men — Orpheus to sing, Hades to build industry — render women invisible from their own stories and systematically block men from having the emotional skills to actually get the things they want.

Many romance readers will naturally have a strong inclination towards the young/new love story of Eurydice and Orpheus, but for me Persephone and Hades’s story was chilling and fascinating. Let’s be clear, this is a show where Hades sings a song about how the best way to chain a woman is with diamonds and gold, but at no point does the show indict the women for doing what they need to do to survive, for being seduced, for showing their talents any which way they can, or for wanting better from the ultimate failures of their men.

As someone who often writes love stories about what happens after the happily ever after, and about the burdens of success and public life on private existence, Hadestown was painfully in my sweet spot. I was raised to be Persephone, and to witness her endurance was remarkable. I thought often of the heroine of our upcoming poly romance, The Art of Three.

Since this is a romance blog, I do feel obligated to note this is not a show with an HEA. In a way, it has no ending at all — it’s about storytelling and a single iteration of a story that is always told in an eternal, endless circle, making the wedding band the story itself. We are bound to it, whether we wish to be or not.

I also feel obligated to note that the show is most effective if you know as little as possible going in, particularly in regard to a political moment that is accidentally shocking (the show began development ten years ago, that one of the songs intersects terrifying with current U.S. politics is an odd fluke).

Hadestown is currently running at the New York Theatre Workshop through July 31 (I’m hoping for another extension so Erin can see it when she is in New York in August). A concept album that is not terribly reflective of the current state of the show exists, and a cast recording of this production has been made and is due out sometime soon.

Posted in theater, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Newsletter news!

ravenclippyIn July, our monthly newsletter is going to come out a little late! Instead of showing up in your email box on July 1, it’s going to show up on July 5.

Why?

Well, we’re making some stylistic changes.

We’re also writing a little prequel for you to A Queen from the North focusing on George, the teenage, genderqueer court witch who plays a supporting role in the novel and will be front and center for her own romantic adventure in a future book.

Never fear, Love in Los Angeles fans. We’re working on a little treat for you too.

And if we can make everything work exactly as we want it to (stay tuned on that) there may be additional freebie news too.

So if there was ever a time to subscribe, this is it. You can do that here: http://eepurl.com/65dMz

As ever, we only email you once a month and we’ll never share your information with anyone or add you to any other lists

Posted in books, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Midsummer is just $1 for midsummer (sale runs June 20 – June 24)

MidsummerFSAll Romance | Amazon | B&N

“Fans of sensual, romantic stories will love this one …. This is incredibly well-written and nuanced; it’s simply marvelous.”
– Inked Rainbow Reads, 5*

“A lushly worded book, filled with romance and characters that leap from the page. One of the best M/M reads of the year so far!”
– V.L. Locey (author of Two Man Advantage), 5*

“The writing, as always, is flawless, and almost poetic in some parts. Definitely a very enjoyable read, that … packs a lot of emotion and love into it.”
– Bayou Book Reviews, 5*

Lush, funny, magical, and a little bit morbid, the Love’s Labours series chronicles a romance between two actors who meet during a summerstock production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Sure, 42-year-old John Lyonel has never been attracted to men before, but falling for 25-year-old Michael Hilliard is actually the least screwed up thing that’s happened to him in years.

Even if sometimes he thinks Michael’s a changeling.

(Please note, this is a first-time bisexual story for one of the characters and involves processing of his identity. It’s not a “I’m straight and your the exception” story, although the characters totally turn that topic over with some intensity).

Posted in bisexuality, books, lgbtq romance, Love's Labours, may december romance, Midsummer, mm romance, queer lit, Summerstock, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snare, sales, and more

Snare_coverNYC: Death. Taxes. Vampires.

Snare releases next week and is now available for preorder at Torquere, Amazon, AllRomance and many other of your favorite retailers. We suggestion you read about Snare’s content to see if this is the right book for you.


They Do“Lake Effect” is about to go out of print.

The very first story Erin and I had published will go out of digital print per our contract in just a few days. Those who want to catch up with this tale of mishaps on the way to the altar, will want to grab this story now. We’ll eventually reissue it, but we don’t yet know in what context or have a timeline for that.  All RomanceAmazon | Torquere

wolvesHis Animal Instinct raises almost $500 for charity!

In its first two months of availability, M/M shifter anthology, His Animal Instinct has raised $497 for Outright (outrightinternational.org), which works to protect the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people around the world. His Animal Instinct is an Amazon.com exclusive.

And finally, Torquere is having a really big sale for Pride monh.

If you shop for Snare, “Lake Effect,” or any of our other Torquere titles now through July 4, 2016 at the Torquere store, be sure to use code pride2016 for 35% off your entire cart!

Posted in books, Lake Effect, lgbtq romance, mm romance, sales, shifters, Snare, Uncategorized, vampires, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment