Stuff Your E-Reader

a desktop with an open book and a cup of coffee covered with daisies. the text reads, "stuff your ereader with 750+ free romances. romancebookworms.com.)

I’m briefly emerging from my writing cave to offer you over 750 FREE romances, including The One You Want. Run to Romance Bookworms to get all the links, and click fast because this sale only lasts for one day. I don’t have any plans to discount any of the Political Persuasions titles in the near future (and certainly I can’t do better than free!), so take advantage and tell your friends.

And one last, tiny plea: if you have read The Ones You Want, Need, Hate, or Crave, will you please consider leaving reviews at Goodreads or retailers? It would mean so much to me. xoxo

Political Persuasions Rerelease Day

It’s rerelease day for the books formerly known as Special Interests, Private Politics, Party Lines, and Dispatches. Welcome to the world, Political Persuasions!

These are the books of my heart. While I hope to write dozens more love stories, I can still feel myself finding my voice in this series. I’m so excited to re-release them in an updated form and in paperback. And I cannot adequately express how pretty the physical books are in person; the covers are by the AMAZING Zoe York.

If you’re interested, you can pick up your copies at:

I do have one request–and asking this makes me feel like a dweeb–but if you reviewed the books in their previous forms, will you consider copying your old review into the new entry on Goodreads or at a retailer? When I changed titles and covers, all the old reviews stayed with the original versions, so the new books are just, well, bare. Even a handful of reviews can make a massive difference in terms of visibility and in getting other readers to take a chance on a book. So it would mean the world to me if you’d consider writing a few lines about the Political Persuasions books.

I’m going back to my writing cave now, but I’m so glad that Millie and Parker, Alyse and Liam, Lydia and Michael, Molly and Gavin, Cadence and Graham, Brynn and Drew, and Maddie and Adam are in the world–and on my bookshelves–again. I hope you’ll consider adding them to yours.

Series Cover Reveal: Political Persuasions

The books formerly known as Special Interests, Private Politics, and Party Lines are about to get a new lease on life as Political Persuasions! It’ll take me a bit to fully update my website, but here’s the pretty.

Are they not lovely? Do you not adore them? And they’ll be available in print too for the first time ever!

All this goodness drops on February 21, but if you want to preorder, here are the links:

And I am offering a complete, annotated set in the Romancing the Vote 2022 auction, which you can look at here. Bidding starts on February 14!

The Easy Part Out of Print

Since I received an email from a reader about it, I’ll go ahead and address it in a post: The Easy Part series (aka Special Interests, Private Politics, and Party Lines) went out of print last week. I requested a rights reversion from my publisher, and they granted it. I’ve spent the last few weeks lightly editing the series, and I’ll be rereleasing it–with new titles and covers and a previously unpublished novella–soon. It’ll also be available in print for the first time. Because I have to deal with some behind the scenes stuff related to self publishing, I’m not quite ready to set a firm date. But…soonish (?).

If you want to be the first person to see the new covers (and you do), be sure you’re signed up for my newsletter.

2022 Goals

A monochrome picture of Emma playing the piano. Only her hands are visible on the keyboard.

Going into 2021, I had three goals: play the piano everyday, sign with an agent, and get a book contract. I did not play quite everyday; on Twitter, I logged my progress using the #RomancePianists hashtag. I got off with my numbering a bit, but I think I missed 3 days when I was away from my instrument. In terms of my other two goals, well, it was mission accomplished.

Given my relative success, I wanted to set a few more goals for the coming year.

  • Play the piano most days. I’m going to keep using the hashtag–and everyone is free to join, whatever instrument you’re playing and however often you practice–but I’m going to cut myself a bit of slack. I’d like to log six sessions a week (or 312 practices) next year.
  • Write two books. One of these is contracted, planned, and started, but I’d like to write another in the second half of the year.
  • Complete the work for my secret project. More on this later!
  • Start jogging again. I fell off when I sprained my ankle and upper foot in 2019, and I want to get back to it.
  • Cut back on my social media use. Sincerely, I’m on Twitter less than I used to be, but I’m going to start aggressively using the tech blocking software on my phone. My plan is to log on for a few minutes each day to update my piano hashtag and check in, but then to log off again. I need my mind and my time to get the rest of this done.

And that seems like an ambitious enough year for me.

2021 in Review

There is a way of looking at this year that is triumphant, at least personally. But while I achieved some substantial and long-term goals, as I face the end of the year, my primary emotion is exhaustion.

This was the first year that I haven’t published anything since 2012. While I know that gaps are normal and healthy even, there’s some panicked part of me that feels like it was a year when I lost ground, but I know that’s just the 2021 speaking.

So in the last twelve months:

  • I finished writing and then revised Chick Magnet.
  • After that, I started querying agents. In April, I signed with Sarah Younger, and I can report that she’s AMAZING.
  • I then revised Chick Magnet again, and Sarah took it out on submission over the summer. In October, we announced that we had sold it (and another standalone contemporary romance) to Montlake. The expected publication date is early 2023.
  • Over the summer when I wasn’t frantically refreshing my inbox, I wrote about 15K for a novella. I also wrote proposals for Montlake, and, once they selected one, I began writing that book. I also worked to revise some things for rerelease (more news about that soon). All told, I wrote about 50K words in the last twelve months.
  • I read 58 new-to-me books.

All together, it was a year of sporadic triumph and daily struggle, which makes it pretty much par for the 2021 course. Here’s to hoping that the balance will shift in 2022, and we can all lean harder into the celebration side in the coming year.

(I’ve been producing some version of this post for as long as I’ve been blogging my writing. You can read about my 2020201920182017201620152014, and 2013 respectively.)

Things I Really Liked in 2021

It seems impossible, but it’s that time again! Time for my year in review posts.

This was a marginally more normal year for me in media. In less I sneak a few more in under the wire, I read 58 new-to-me books (see my Goodreads year in review here), not counting rereads, and I listened to LOTS of music. Here’s my Spotify top 100, though I think this is skewed by the fact I mostly listen in the kitchen, and so it doesn’t include the music that I really become obsessed with as I always purchase that. Some of the biggest, buzziest titles didn’t work for me, but the things that did really, really did.

I add my normal caveat that this isn’t a best of the year list, but rather, a list of things I thought were especially meaningful and cool. These are not in a particular order. And as always, you can look back at my previous year in review posts: 2020201920182017, and 2016.

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2021”

Farewell, Stephen

Yesterday, Stephen Sondheim died at the age of 91. He was almost certainly the most important musical theatre composer in American history. In fact, I’d argue that he was the central figure in American theatre in the last fifty years.

I’ve talked before about how I grew up loving musical theatre (this piece on romance tropes in musicals is the most popular blog post I’ve ever written), and Sondheim’s lyrics and scores were a massive part of my devotion. In middle school, I went through a period where I listened to the soundtrack for West Side Story every day. My then best friend and I wanted to mount a revival on Broadway: we designed sets for every scene and envisioned a Spanish translation of the lyrics (which of course did happen in 2009). I then went through periods where I obsessively listened to the revival cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the OBC of A Little Night Music, and especially the OBC of Into the Woods.

My tastes changed, of course, and there were Sondheim shows for me as I grew. I never got into Sweeney Todd (it’s a little dark for me) or Sunday in the Park with George (Dot is underwritten). But I came to adore Company and Assassins and more obscure gems.

Sondheim’s ability to quickly sketch a character–lyrically and musically–is just unparalleled. I’m going to drop a list of favorites below, but listen to “Now/Later/Soon“: ten minutes, three characters, three distinction voices and goals/motivations/conflicts. It’s just PERFECT.

The knocks on Sondheim, that there was no feeling in his shows and that his tunes weren’t hummable, strike me as bizarre. He didn’t write rousing chorus numbers a la “June Is Busting Out All Over,” but have you heard “Giants in the Sky,” “Losing My Mind,” or “The Ballad of Booth“? Heck, even “Someone in a Tree“–which is cerebral AF–slaps, as the kids say.

Everyone is publishing their ten favorite Sondheim songs list, and here’s mine. I wouldn’t argue that these are his best, but that they are the ones that have meant the most to me–and if that sounds like an invitation for you to share your favorites, that’s because it is. I offer these in no particular order.

Continue reading “Farewell, Stephen”

Book Announcement: Chick Magnet

So I have some career news.

Emma Barry's CHICK MAGNET, pitched as a pop culture mash-up of The Chicks' Gaslighter album and a grumpy, modern-day James Herriot, featuring a social media starlet who gained a following thanks to her flock of backyard chickens and who is seeking a fresh start post bad break-up when she has an unfortunate run-in with her new neighbor, a handsome yet broody local veterinarian, to Lauren Plude at Montlake in a two-book deal, by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost literary agency.

That’s right: you’re going to get more books from me! I can officially tell you that Chick Magnet, my sunshine-y chicken keeping influencer + grumpy small town veterinarian romance, is coming soon. I don’t have a release date yet, but I cannot wait to put this book into your hands.

I’m massively grateful to my agent for believing in me and in my book and to Lauren Plude and everyone at Montlake for having an amazing vision for Chick Magnet.

As you probably know, my self-confidence and I took a long midnight walk. I didn’t write anything except novellas for literally years, I split with another agent, and I seriously contemplated quitting. But what stopped me was the hankering to write something I liked again. If I was going to quit, I wanted to go out with a book that was just for me, so I wasn’t leaving writing from a place of fear. That book turned out to be Chick Magnet.

I’m so grateful to my friends who believed in me, even during those years (and years and years) when I could not write and was basically a sentient existential crisis. So many people have been generous with their time and expertise, and I’m just awash in feelings.

Anyhow, I can’t wait for you to meet Will and Nic and the chickens—so many chickens. If you need to plug Chick Magnet into your veins (and ear drums), here’s the playlist.

Odds and Ends

It’s been an eon since I’ve done any blogging. I am SO sorry. I’ve actually been writing a lot (who am I?), and, y’all, I finished something.

That’s right, a few days after my 2020 year in review post, I completed a full-length contemporary romance (!!!). Then I spent January revising it before querying agents. ICYMI, I ended up signing with the incredible Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Now, publishing moves with the same approximate speed of a cold turtle, so it may be months before I have news–if I ever even have good news. But when I was gathering manuscripts together for Sarah to take a look at it, it was a lot. I just have so many fragments of stories and made-up couples and ideas, and for the first time in a long time, I feel…hopeful about my writing. My fingers and toes are crossed that other people will feel the same way and I can share them with you at some point.

In more tangible news, all three of the Easy Part books are on sale for 99 cents! As a reminder, these are my Obama-era political romances and they feel very optimistic–maybe too optimistic–about government. But I love these fictional people and their fictional struggles toward love, and I’m delighted that you can get them at a deeply discounted price if you are so inclined.

I have no idea how long the sale will last, so if you want these books for cheap, act fast! They do not need to be read in order as the series is pretty loosely connected.

  1. Special Interests: AmazonB&NiBooksKobo, and Google Play.
  2. Private PoliticsAmazon, B&NiBooksKobo, and Google Play.
  3. Party Lines: Amazon, B&NiBooksKobo, and Google Play.