A Queen from the North – preview!

A Queen from the North comes out on May 23, 2017 in ebook. (Right now the preorder is only up on Amazon, but we’ll have all the other major distributors up this weekend). Paperbacks will be available mid-June, and the audiobook (How excited are we? And our narrator is amazing!) will be out in late summer or early fall.

A Queen from the North is and M/F romance set in a modern but not-so-united kingdom where the wounds of the Wars of the Roses have never healed. The story is both a bit dark and a lot funny and contains raven prophecies, grad school rejections, fighting the paparazzi off with a pair of flip-flops, a genderqueer court witch, lesbians in the House of Lords, and Canada.

If you want a peek at our world, the opening of the book is below:

queenfromebook-1Chapter 1

ON TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF IMOGENE’S DEATH, ENGLAND MOURNS ITS PRINCESS

15 September

Year 20 of the Reign of King Henry XII

Arthur stared out the window of the car and watched the countryside pass in a blur of autumn colors. Visiting his late wife’s grave was always sad, but the ritual unsettled him far more now than when she had first passed. Then, he had been too mired in his own sorrow to notice what else went on around him. Now, ten years on, he resented the public intrusion into his life and the requirement that he perform a grief that, while yet deeply personal, had been dulled by time. But the public still desperately cared. Perhaps because he had never remarried; perhaps because his people, who had loved Imogene and adored their relationship, hoped he never would.

“Your Highness, may I address something to you?” Georgina, his sixteen-year-old niece, asked from beside him.

He snorted softly. “Since when do you speak to me like that?” Certainly, she had not been so formal an hour ago when she declared she would return from the burial site in his car and not the one shared by her sister, Princess Hyacinth, and her mother, Princess Violet.

“I am trying to get you to take me seriously,” the girl, milk-pale and prim blonde with a witch’s green eyes, declared. She took after Violet, Arthur’s sister. Arthur himself was taller, broader, with brown eyes and dark brown hair already going gray at the temples. In part because of conversations like this one.

“I always take you seriously, George. You know that.”

“You have to get remarried.”

Arthur turned his head to look out the window again. One of the prerogatives of being first in line to the throne was that he didn’t have to acknowledge things people said if he didn’t want to.

“I am serious.”

“Yes, you’ve just said.”

“Look, Arthur, the way I see it –”

He turned his head and raised an eyebrow to her. He hardly expected her to use titles or call him sir in private, but at least an uncle would do; some indication that at nearly forty he deserved a bare modicum of respect. But Georgina, who had demanded to be called George since she was eight, was bold, brash, and a teenager — a combination which God had ordained would always skirt the edge of terrible.

Arthur’s gaze was enough to make her falter for a moment, but she continued. “The way I see it, you have three choices.”

“And those would be?”

“You get over yourself, get married, produce an heir –”

“Yes, I am familiar with the concept.”

“Never remarry and become a tragic, mythological figure –”

“Well on my way already, don’t you think?”

George soldiered on. “Or embrace full-on loserdom, change your name, move to America, and have lots of sex with women who will sell the story to the papers.”

Arthur was glad the privacy partition between them and the driver was closed. “That’s startlingly specific.”

George had the poor grace to look pleased with herself.

“Well,” Arthur said as if he was indulging a child much younger than this princess, “what do you suggest I do?”

“You need to get married. Urgently.”

“And why is that?” Arthur was willing to listen to her. At least for now.

“Because, as you know, when I turn eighteen, and you don’t have an heir, my mother is going to announce that she’s taking herself out of the line of succession. Which makes me next in line after you.”

“And?”

“And I don’t want it.” George sat up straighter, as if to indicate her distaste for the weight of the crown.

“You’re the only young woman in the kingdom who would say that.”

“I’m not suited to be queen and you know it. Find a woman who is, and the country will be happier. I’ll be happier. And so will you be. You want a companion, not the friendship of your strange niece who plays hostess for you.”

“And?” Arthur prompted once more. The look on George’s face said she wasn’t done.

She leant towards him and dropped her voice to little more than a whisper.  “I had a dream.”

“Again?”

“Yes.”

“It’s been a while,” he said amiably, as if George were an ordinary child with run-of-the-mill nightmares.

“Yes.”

“Which one was it?” he asked as the car accelerated past rolling hills and old stone fences back towards the congestion of London.

“The one where all the ravens were dead.”

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Tremontaine S1 is now in hardcover and paperback… and people like it!

tremontaine_s1_printTremontaine is here, and people like it, including:

The Washington Post: “The real magic is how well six authors can spin together a narrative. The book is a prequel of sorts to Ellen Kushner’s ‘Swordspoint’ series, but stands perfectly well alone…The story is a joy, and literally swashbuckling. Overseeing all the machinations is the Duchess Tremontaine, a villain so laughably scheming that you can’t help but root for her.”

Tor.com: “more dazzling and provocative than you can imagine…more diverse than ever before, and more bursting with ideas and strangeness.”

Lightspeed Magazine: “deliciously satisfying.”

Locus Magazine: “Well-paced, excellently written…delighting in the opportunity to fully indulge in its drama of manners (and swords), it’s one of the most accomplished and purely enjoyable things I’ve read in a while. I recommend it highly.”

Want to know more about how we wrote it? Check out our team’s recent AMA on Reddit.

Want to read it? You can grab it from Amazon or wherever you buy books!

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The Art of Three is on PolyWeekly

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Click the logo to list to our episode!

Or, how to write a book while crying in Vienna at 3am.

If you wanted to know more about how and why we wrote The Art of Three, what we learned from it, and what a tenderhearted nerd Racheline is, this is your podcast moment.

Thanks to our lovely host, Cunning Minx, for a great conversation!

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So about that thing we left open at the end of The Art of Three

The Art of Three was always intended as a standalone book. Because we love the characters, we do have some thoughts on a possible sequel (that is not disrupting the happy triad in any way, don’t worry — we’re all about the cozy here), but we did want to address one big giant spoiler thing, and why we left it open. It wasn’t for a sequel.

Continue reading

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The Art of Three: “achingly lovely” & “absolutely should not miss”

artofWe’re just four days away from The Art of Three and we have a lot of thanking and flailing to do, meaning there are some early reviews we’re thrilled to tell you about:

First, you can take a look at what people are saying on Goodreads:

“Achingly lovely… likely one of the best books I’ll read all year.”
– 5*, Michelle Osgood, author of The Better to Kiss You With

“Real and emotional and funny and on-point and extremely well-written.”
– Anna Zabo, author of Takeover

“…touching, sweet, romantic and thought provoking….”
– 5*, Mary Lynde, Goodreads Reviewer

Additionally, From Top to Bottom Reviews also has a great write up today, saying, “So to conclude: The Art of Three is a fantastic story with amazing characters, great bi- and poly-representation, you absolutely should not miss.”

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay | B&N

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The Art of Three: No one gets left behind

While we started writing The Art of Three in the summer of 2015, some of the most significant emotional and structural work we did on the story happened in January 2016 when I was in Vienna for my day job. These trips are always strange — to say I speak even limited German is a significant stretch, I spend a tremendous amount of time alone, and my interactions with others often come through a lens of cultural curiosity about my Jewishness which can be overwhelming — and for that strangeness often lead to a lot of productivity. Erin takes the day shift, I take the night shift, and we can be working on a manuscript nearly 24-hours a day.

So I’m in Vienna, six hours ahead of home. It’s the middle of the night, and I’m sat in my office because it has internet. Every email, because of the dark and the quiet and the not quite supposed to be there,  feels like it comes in secret. I should be asleep, my correspondents should be at work, everything is clandestine. Because of some narrative point or other in the book, I’m been talking about my ex (sorry, dude, we’re cool, but, like, those years happened) and about how he’s proof that Lizzie and Darcy probably had a miserable marriage.

And because I am a witch, and Erin is a witch, and my ex is also a witch, Erin emails me and says, my husband and I are going to start trying for a baby in September.

Painfully private, I know what it has taken for her to tell me this. She has told no one else. I know only because I need to. After all, we run a business together and create worlds. I feel cold. Vienna, in January, is very cold.

The announcement is hardly a surprise. I’ve known she’s wanted children since I met her, and she’s been clumsily hinting around at this for months. Children have come up repeatedly in recent books (and are key to both The Art of Three and A Queen from the North, readers who wish to know that). I am, at the time, 43-years-old and have none myself. The medicalization and constraints of female life are complicated for me. Because of my age or my queerness, there is no whatever happens, happens in my life; there is only intent. But mine is murky, burdened by notions of property, competition, and the narrow forms of victory afforded to women.

So I’m scared. I’ve often been the girl who gets left behind while people tell me I’m brave for living my life in arguably less typical ways. Erin swears there will be no giving up writing or soft cheese (if you’ve heard pregnancy advice in America vs Europe you understand), and it’s all going to be just fine. Because it turns out she’s scared too. So many people treat pregnancy as this event where you lose your name… along with everything else.

That night we wrote the scene that I think is at the heart of The Art of Three (for those who have advance copies or come back to this post later — it’s the scene where Nerea explains her family history) and realized one of the core themes of the book: You can change your life without blowing up everything you already have.

Now, over a year later, I’m 44, Erin’s pregnant, the book’s two weeks away, and we’ve realized one of the other themes of the book: No one gets left behind.

Not older women. Not pregnant women. Not disabled women.

Not queer people. Not people caught between two cultures. Not people who had their family histories stolen by historical horror.

Not 24-year-olds who have no idea how to adult. Not parents. Not kids. Not people without kids, and certainly not the damn dog with a ridiculous name.

No one gets left behind.

artofErin and I write a lot of angsty books. A lot of the time we don’t even realize they’re angsty because our metrics are a bit off (be warned, we are working on a spy series and it is deliciously badwrong).

But this book is the flip side of all that. This book is the book where everybody wins. Everybody lives. Everyone gets a happily ever after. Because everyone in this book looks at the limitations and definitions the world wants to assign them, acknowledges them, and says No.

Which is what we’ve been doing probably always, but definitely since that January.

We cried through writing so much of this book — because of what we each have and what we each don’t, and because of what it means to be women and what it means to grow older — and we hope this story makes you so happy that you do too.

The Art of Three is available in ebook from these retailers (paperback coming soon):
Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay | B&N

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White Collar, or that time basic cable accidentally gave us a poly show about an art thief

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Peter, Elizabeth, and Neal. These three characters sit on couches together on the show often, and are never, actually this far apart. Ever. Just saying.

I’ve been watching White Collar again. I’ll confess this was a show I gave up on when it was first airing. My friends all said it was super poly, and it was… for a while. Then there was all this tacked on brokenhearted past stuff for one of the characters, and I felt like the show was working to become more normative after being markedly unusual. But some random cable channel has replaced my Sunday night Leverage marathons with Sunday night White Collar marathons, and I’ve remembered what I loved about the show.

For those not in the know, White Collar follows a semi-reformed art thief (Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey); the FBI guy he works for in order to stay out of jail (Tim Dekay as Peter Burke); and the FBI guy’s super competent, charming, and no-time-for-this-bullshit wife (Tiffani Theissen as Elizabeth Burke). There’s a weekly caper, a vague overarching mystery, and buckets — just buckets — of kitchen table poly vibes. Seriously, this is not a case of in a desperate search for representation and confronted with really hot actors, fans decided all these characters should get together. Kitchen table poly is the actual simplest explanation for tons of random things in this show, and I spend a lot of time wondering what on earth show the writers thought they were writing.

Which is why the show got me all cranky the first time around, when Neal suddenly grew a backstory about a broken heart and about as normative a quest for a Happily Ever After as an art thief can get. It felt like a show that reflected a broader perspective on relationships (Peter and Elizabeth don’t, for example, have children, do not address their lack of children, and are really into each other and having both a pet dog and a pet art thief) suddenly, desperately trying to become less weird. I was, frankly, sad.

But this time around I’m a lot less annoyed. Part of this is that I’m not surprised this go around. Some of this is age and a change of perspective — Neal can have a brokenhearted past, be in normative-looking relationships, and also be poly. Meanwhile, I can also overlook a range of narrative inconsistencies in a wacky caper show that’s under the delusion that New York City is rife with alleys. (It’s not, but the writing team was in LA while the show was shot in NYC, and they kept having to find that one NYC location with an alley to the ongoing amusement of the New York fans).

So, if you like poly content (and we hope you do, considering what we write), White Collar is very much worth your time. And while I had sort of forgotten that this show existed (and Erin didn’t even know what it was about), if you like Elizabeth Burke, you will definitely like Nerea in The Art of Three.

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