A Queen from the North pre-order now available

queenfromebook-1It may be the 21st century, but in a not-so-united kingdom the wounds of the the Wars of the Roses have never healed. The rivalry between the Yorkish north and Lancastrian south has threatened to pull the nation apart for over 500 years.

While the modern world struggles with fractures born of ancient conflict, Lady Amelia Brockett faces far more mundane problems. Known to her family as Meels, this youngest daughter of a Northern earl is having the Worst. Christmas. Ever. Dumped by her boyfriend and rejected from graduate school, her parents deem her the failure of the family.

But when her older brother tries to cheer her with a trip to the races, a chance meeting with Arthur, the widowed, playboy Prince of Wales, offers Amelia the chance to change her life — and Britain’s fortunes — forever. Hunted by the press — and haunted by Arthur’s niece who fancies herself the kingdom’s court witch — Amelia finds herself adrift in a sea of paparazzi, politics, and prophecy.

With few allies beyond her allergic-to-horses sister-in-law, her best friend who has a giant crush on the prince, and the cute young receptionist at Buckingham Palace that calls himself her Royalty Customer Service Representative, Amelia must navigate a perilous and peculiar course to secure Arthur’s love and become A Queen from the North.

Pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Queen-North-Royal-Roses-Book-ebook/dp/B06XBPDJPM (more distributors and paperback available soon). Release date: May 23, 2017

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Get Starling for free!

starling_newIn honor of Oscar weekend, you can now download the ebook of Starling for free from Amazon.com now through the end of February 27, 2017. If you love it, don’t forget to preorder Doves, which will be out May 9, 2017!

Additionally, the new paperback edition of Starling is now available. It’s currently filtering out to various distributors, but you can grab it on Amazon for now.

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Love in Los Angeles rereleases coming soon

starling_newStarling will once again be available starting February 14, 2017. This newly edited and expanded edition is over 5,000 words longer than the original edition and contains additional new material (as we trimmed of one or two things from the original). It’s not all about Victor, but a lot of it is.

doves2Initially, the Starling ebook will only be available on Amazon as we enter the book in KU for its first 90 days. We’re working on the paperback edition now, and that will be available anywhere you like to shop in a few weeks as printing happens (paperbacks currently listed on Amazon are the old edition).

Meawhile, we’ve put up the preorder for the Doves rerelease, which you’ll be able to grab May 9. If our schedule is kind to us, the ebook and paperback will be available at the same time, and we’ll release Starling wide to other ebook platforms shortly there after.

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Hey, we’re in Forbes!

fiftyshadesofgreen_withlogo-1200x639Racheline was interviewed for Hayley C. Cuccinello’s article “Fifty Shades Of Green: How Fanfiction Went From Dirty Little Secret To Money Machine.”

Also featured in this all-genre article pegged to the release of Fifty Shades Darker is fellow romance author Cecilia Tan.


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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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