Tremontaine S1 is a Locus 2016 Recommended Read!

issue02_499x648-231x300tremontaine_s1_printWe’re very pleased to note that Tremontaine S1, out in paperback  and hardcover from SAGA Press in May 2017 and already available digitally from Serial Box Publishing, has made Locus’s annual list of recommended reads compiled by editors, reviewers, and other SFF professionals!

You can see the whole list here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/01/2016-locus-recommended-reading-list/ and remember to join our mailing list to get a chance to win an a paperback ARC in the February newsletter (coming out this weekend).

(Yes, this is the 2016 list. Yes, it’s just been released. Yes, Tremontaine S1 came out in 2015/2016 and it’s now 2017 and that’s when the paper editions will be out, it’s super complicated, but the whole Tremontaine is super grateful to get the rec despite the calendar complications we pose!)

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Excerpt: The Art of Three – Jamie and Nerea discuss what has been lost

Erin and I often say that we’re witches. Among other reasons, we say this because our books always know what’s going on in our lives and the world before we do. This hasn’t necessarily been more true of The Art of Three than other books, but it’s perhaps been more poignantly true.

One theme that emerged in the book, that we didn’t even notice until the second or even third draft, was that each of our main characters has a personal history and community they are cut off from by the fallout of systemic violence.

artofJamie’s father, it is mentioned in passing was a Magdalene laundry baby adopted out. Jamie frets about wanting to know more of his lost grandmother’s history while being aware it would hurt were he ever able to find it out.

Nerea tells the story of being from a converso family and being raised Catholic but with traditions she didn’t know the meaning of until she met her husband whose grandmother was Jewish and whose history his own father would have preferred he forget.

Callum, a bisexual man, in a key moment waves off a mention of former lovers, noting they are all likely dead. Jamie, 24, doesn’t understand. “It was the 80s,” Callum says, and then says nothing else.

This book is the happiest, warmest book we’ve ever written. It’s got tons of weddings and engagements and HEAs and happy families of all types. But somehow, this story that we started in 2015, and finished the first draft of in January 2016, insisted on these few lines and pages about loss and how we go on and understand ourselves when our histories are taken from us.

At the time, we were like “Wooo, look at us with patterns and themes.” Today, we’re like,”Oh shit, why can’t we be happier witches?”

But at the end of the day, The Art of Three is about how people and families endure, change, and thrive through the unexpected terrible and also through the unexpected wonderful.

If I weren’t editing something else right now, I’d probably reread it this week.

Below is a scene from the center of the book. After Nerea has told Jamie about her own family history earlier in the day, they have this conversation that night in bed. Spoilers of course.

That night after they had gone to bed, Jamie stretched out under the blankets that covered them both now that the evenings had grown cool and said quietly, “I keep thinking about those candlesticks.”

“Ah?” Nerea had been on the edge of dropping off, but Jamie apparently wanted to talk, so she rolled over to face him. He had his pillow bunched up awkwardly under his head, and the moonlight fell across his face in pale streaks. He was frowning.

“I hardly know anything about my own family. I mean we’re Irish and Catholic — I know that much. But my dad was adopted — ”

“His parents, the people that raised him, are your grandparents,” Nerea said curtly before Jamie could get any further. Biology could be fascinating but was often overrated. Family was what you built.

“I know, and they’re great, but my dad’s mum, the one he was born to, she was in the laundries. I don’t think she wanted to give him up, and I wonder, sometimes, about cousins or aunts or uncles I might have and don’t know about. I have my mum’s family, of course, and none of it bothers me, but you can talk about a tradition of centuries, and I can talk about what’s lost. It felt weird, sometimes, when I was growing up.”

“It’s hard to be different.” Nerea knew enough to understand that the circumstances of his father’s adoption were likely fraught. Jamie didn’t spend a lot of time talking about his family, but when he did it was always with evident fondness. That was what mattered. “But you have plenty of stories to tell,” Nerea said. “A loving family that chose to be together. That’s good, and it’s more than many people get.”

“I know.” Jamie nodded his agreement. “I do know, but if I ever have kids of my own I’d want them to know their history. All of it — my father’s parents that raised him and the ones that didn’t. But finding any of that out would be hard. And it would probably hurt.”

The world was full of difficulties, Nerea wanted to tell Jamie. He only twenty-four, and there was still so much time for life’s lost and founds to break his heart. She wondered if she would still know him when he had children of his own; she wondered how much it would ache if she did. But now was not the time to sort that out, not within herself, and certainly not with him.

“It can seem hard to have lost history,” said carefully, glad they could barely see each other in the weighty dark. “But all families do. True, only some know it or the terrible reasons for it, but we do the best we can. We make new traditions, and we go on.” She touched a finger to the tip of his nose. “There’s a freedom in that,” she said. “Choose wisely.”

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Romance novels are feminist, political & made of witchcraft

In my household we often watch Say Yes to the Dress as background noise when writing or messing about on the Internet. This seems obvious. Romance writers, of course, we watch Say Yes to the Dress. Retrograde genre and retrograde show, right? Wrong.

The fact is, amid some sweet stories and fashion worth talking about, Say Yes to the Dress freaks me out. Badly. Because my childhood — which I often liken to Pride & Prejudice with different dresses — means I come from a world where women were raised to disappear. Not because of any sort of religious belief that constrains so many women in conservative American life, but because of New York Society’s fantasy of itself. Women are trained to be accomplished so they can be chosen by extremely wealthy, successful, and likely older men to live a life of luxury, formidable charity work, and carrying on the family name. Baby bonuses were a thing in the world I grew up in, and it’s confusing, constantly, to be the assertive queer product of a single-sex education which is supposed to produce anything but me. And yet here we are!

All of this has often made writing romance very strange. My sense of women’s lives is deeply polarized, made up of the world I rejected and the life I have. Most women in America aren’t living either of these lives. Erin certainly isn’t.

In fact, my and Erin’s backgrounds are so wildly different, we often have to ask each other really odd things as we work on a manuscript. What does a wedding feel like if not the prize you get for being a good girl? Why don’t couples sit together at a formal table seating? Why do you keep describing the bathrooms like this; is that important if you live in a house? What do you mean, you’ve always felt like a person, don’t you know you’re not? Of course you’re a person, how is this a question, I don’t understand?

Really. Every one of those. My upbringing was really wacky. Sometimes my day-job intersects with it, and Erin’s gotten emails from me on work trips because I’ve been in a panic due to being the only woman in a room who was neither the wife of an important man or a princess of the blood. I should have been, you know. The first one at least.

When we first started writing together, Erin and I didn’t spend a lot of energy on why were were writing stories about men. We were because we wanted to, because they were what we knew how to write, because my introduction to my queerness was all though men and felt like home. These were simply the stories we had and needed to tell.

But we kept writing women at their margins — brash, constrained, exhausted, furious, free. And we kept loving them, even as we sometimes got emails from readers letting us know they preferred their romances about men not to contain women.

And slowly but surely, I started to get a sense of what the admonition “you can do and be anything when you grow up” would mean to someone for whom it wasn’t hinged on the wealth, support, and access a man of a certain sort could provide. Equally slowly but surely, Erin began see the way my childhood did not represent a world from which she was exempt — people say things to women all the time about who and what and how we’re supposed to be. The suggestion is, generally, that we’re supposed to disappear, ensure that the women around us also disappear, and feel like we’re virtuous through the pains of these vanishing acts. Yikes!

All of this feeling — both good and bad — has both created and come out of the books we’ll be releasing in this year. Still queer, still peculiar, but now about the lives and burdens of men trying their not-always-good-enough best and women who have learned to use their constraint like a knife until they get the HEA they want and deserve, regardless of the social consequences. We feel pretty great about this somewhat accidental timing and the way it syncs with an American political landscape that seems to want to make my toxic childhood an idealized norm.

Romance is a feminist genre because it’s women writing what women want to read. But this year our romances are also about feminism — in the home (The Art of Three), on the political stage (A Queen from the North), and in the workplace (our yet to be titled Ys book).

artofIn The Art of Three, our heroine Nerea has a famous husband, nosy neighbors, and a blossoming career as a painter. But too much of her life is often consumed by lovely men who need to be reminded that people can’t belong to other people and that women should not be forced to be primary parents… or parents at all.

In A Queen from the North, our heroine Amelia was raised to make a good marriage to a scion of a reasonable family. When she winds up engaged to the Prince of Wales she faces political backlash and sexist advice, she and her future husband conspire to use the brutality of women’s lives to change the political balance in a not-so-United-Kingdom forever.

In the united Ys book, our heroine Elizabeth evades a New England political marriage and wifely duty to have an affair with her much older boss. He suspects he knows her from a previous life when her choice not to do her duty caused cities to drown. Elizabeth suspects he’s crazy, but the one thing she’s sure of is that he’s got the story of their past all wrong.

Two of these books (The Art of Three and the Ys book) have bisexual heroes. A Queen from the North features a genderqueer teenager who serves as the prince’s court witch (and who will get her own book later). All three books additionally have supporting queer characters. And demisexuality is a big thing in the Ys book.

But, overwhelmingly, other than the innate queerness of us and our stories, the thing that unifies these three books is the belief that every act of control women face makes us stronger and that we each have access to magic even in non-magical contexts. Magic, after all, is just naming a thing and making it so.

Romance novels are feminist. Not just because they make women happy, although that’s enough. But because they are secret spells, carried out in coded language right in the open. While many might  dismiss the as the frivolity of our kind, romance novels remind women to know they deserve love, recognize that they are people, ask for and receive what the want, and change their worlds — through far more than endurance.

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Hugo & Nebula Award Eligibility

tremontaineteaserIt’s SF/F awards season, and Tremontaine is eligible in various categories. Frankly, so is some of our PNR stuff, but it’s the Tremontaine stuff that is really confusing. It’s a done thing in SF/F circles to let people know how an what you’ve written is eligible, so here’s a link to the Serial Box Publishing breakdown: http://blog.serialbox.com/awards-eligibility-2/

Long story short – Tremontaine S1 is eligible as a novel in the Hugos, and individual episodes that appeated in 2016 (so part of S1 and part of S2) are eligible in the Novelette category in both the Hugos and the Nebulas.

Anyway, if you’re involved in either awards system, enjoy your reading and voting!

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The Art of Three now available for preorder

A woman’s life should not be defined by what is enough.

artofJamie Conway has a charmed life. At 24, he’s relocated from Dublin to London to star in his first feature film. Unfortunately, he also has one very big problem: He has a huge crush on his happily married costar.

British heartthrob to middle-aged women everywhere, Callum Griffith-Davies should have better sense than to flirt with his new-to-the-business colleague, but good judgement isn’t one of the qualities for which he’s known.

Nerea Espinosa de Los Monteros Nessim has better things to do than fret about her husband’s newest conquest. She’s busy planning her daughter’s wedding at the family’s farmhouse in rural Spain. Besides, she and Callum have been married and polyamorous for almost 30 years; she’s content to let him make his own bad choices.

But when Nerea flies to London after her artwork is selected for a high-profile museum show, she falls for Jamie too. Soon Callum, Jamie, and Nerea have bigger problems, and surprises, than international logistics. From ex-lovers and nosy neighbors to adult children with dramas of their own, The Art of Three is a contemporary romance that celebrates families, and farce, in all shapes and sizes.

Nothing has quite been like writing this book. It’s a deeply gentle book, that wasn’t gentle with us at all. And, now it’s available for Amazon pre-order. Print and other ebook distributors coming by the March 28, 2017 release date.

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Information regarding All Romance E-books closing

2016 has been a difficult year all around. Publishing hasn’t been exempt and with just  few days left in the year, All Romance Ebooks / OmniLit has announced it’s closing its doors.

They have offered indie authors (this effects Erin and I) ten cents on the dollar for Q4 royalties owed through December 27. Any sales made in the next four days will not be paid at all.

They are negotiating with traditional publishers (this also effects Erin and I) and its unclear what deal will be come to, but it’s another case where neither we nor our publisher (Dreamspinner) will receive the full monies owed.

If you are an All Romance customer, do make sure you you log in and download all your purchases, but please don’t buy more titles from them — authors and publishers won’t see that revenue.

We’ve removed ARe links from this site. Right now the best place to buy our works is Amazon. In 2017 we’ll be adding lots more distributors as we release new novels as well as re-release back catalogue items.

If you have purchased books of ours through ARe at any time and are unable to download them from the site before shutdown, please contact us with a screenshot or receipt and we or the relevant publisher will make it right.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

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Tremontaine S1 print cover reveal

tremontaine_s1_printThe cover for the paperback and hardcover editions of Tremontaine Season 1 is here!

In a city where sharp swords cut deep and sharp wit cuts even deeper, two strangers come to town.

One is a brash young spy from across the sea, exiled from her bright home where jaguars stalk the forests. Ixkaab Balam is sure she can take on these simple foreigners, who rely on her Trader family to import their precious chocolate.

One is a farmgirl selling turnips in the market…who just happens to be a math genius. When a raffish scholar takes her under his wing, she finds a place at the University–and if they all think she’s a boy, Micah doesn’t care, as long as they let her study numbers.

Brooding over them all is Diane, Duchess Tremontaine: a beautiful, clever woman with a secret that must be kept hidden at all costs. And when Ixkaab’s adventures and Micah’s research threaten to destroy all that she has built, Diane moves her pieces into play.

Out from Saga Press, May 2, 2017!

 

Posted in books, Cowriting, ff romance, lgbtq romance, mm romance, queer lit, serial fiction, tremontaine, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments