Odds and Ends

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  • There have been lots of lovely pieces and reviews related to the Rogue Desire release. Just a reminder that today is the final day to get it for 99 cents. The price will go up to $2.99 tomorrow. If you need resistance romance in your life, click fast.
  • We are also working on a second volume–Rogue Affair–which will drop November 8. It’s already available for preorder most places. I’m writing my novella now, and I’m giddy about it.
  • The Romance Writers of American national convention begins tomorrow and I won’t be attending (sadly), but led by Olivia Dade, a group of us decided to put on a virtual convention on Twitter. I’ll be doing a quick tweetstorm on Thursday morning about writing betas. You can check out the full schedule on Olivia’s blog here; she’ll be adding to the schedule as we go. I’m super excited!

Rogue Desire Release Day!

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I know we only announced Rogue Desire last week, but it’s here already! You can get your copy at Amazon, iBooksB&NKobo, or Google Play and then you can add it to your Goodreads shelves or check out my inspiration board on Pinterest. Paperbacks are coming too, but remember the 99 cent price is only good for a week.

We also have a super-cool release giveaway that includes a paperback copy of Rogue Desire, a Kindle Fire, a crocheted hat, a mix CD, and a donation to the ACLU, so be sure to enter.

The anthology includes eight new novelettes. We wrote out of anxiety and fear. We wrote about reclusive hackers and civic-minded Park Rangers and saucy protestors and pre-school teachers who want to make a difference and frightened legislative aides and foul-mouthed pastors. We wrote about love, the force that gives our lives meaning.

I believe in the stories we told, and they soothed some anxious part of me. It’s a book about now, about this crazy moment, but also about the future, and if you pick it up, I hope you’ll love it.

Project Announcement: Rogue Desire

Back in April, I outlined a book on Twitter. Well, not really a book, more of a plot bunny about two people admitting they were in love against the backdrop of a global crisis and a debate about the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

It festered, and I started emailing and direct messaging with friends who had their own resistance romance ideas. All of that turned into Rogue Desire, which is releasing next week. You can see the cover over on the Happily Ever After blog at USA Today. I have the blurb and preorder links below the fold.

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American Literature, My Way

I read a piece on Lit Hub today about the view of American literature from abroad. For what it’s worth–which is not much–here’s the list of 25 titles I settled on. They’re numbered for my own count, but aren’t in any particular order. I’ve omitted Faulkner, Salinger, Kerouac, Nabokov, Twain, and Toole (all of whom appear on the Lit Hub list) because they’ve never appealed to me personally.

This is slightly edited and corrected (in other words, IMPROVED) from the Twitter version. I’m reprinting it here because it seemed like a suitable celebration of the Fourth of July.

I don’t have enough poets, and probably not enough non-fiction/biography/dramatic literature; there’s also a dearth of the nineteenth-century female novelists I love so well but whose work is both long and problematic. But it’s a list of works that speak to this national project: its high idealism, its deep and repetitive failure, and the hope we still hold, must hold, for the future.

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On the Potential to Change

This started out as a conversation on Twitter. Since I have longer thoughts, I’m expanding on them here.

There was an interesting profile in the Washington Post this morning called “Love Thy Neighbor?” about a Minnesota doctor named Ayaz Virji. Dr. Virji began to feel uncomfortable in his small town after the election, and so he made several attempts to talk to his neighbors after his Muslim faith in order to (perhaps) change their minds. I’m not doing the piece justice; the entire thing is worth reading.

For my purposes here, it’s the last bit that interests me the most. Around the election, there were a host of articles about voters experiencing economic anxiety that led them to support the candidacy of the current president. For example, sociologist Arlie Hochschild wrote one for Mother Jones detailing the five years she spent interviewing people in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in order to understand their lives and world views.

But a notable difference between today’s Post article and Hochschild’s (and the other authors I’d put in this category) is that the latter never attempted to change her subjects’ minds. To be clear, I don’t mean that as a criticism; I’m describing a difference.

It might be, however, that it’s impossible to change minds as Virji attempts to do because people aren’t persuaded by facts. In fact, research suggests that confronting people with facts that are counter to their worldview can lead them to become defensive, to dig in, and to become, in other words, less likely to change.

I could make a bunch of political points about this, which I’m purposefully avoiding, but the pieces also raise writing questions, including: do people, and by extension characters, change? if so, what motivates them to change? how can I write change realistically?

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Odds and Ends

These are all related to the Sight Unseen release, but I’ve gathered them for your listening/reading pleasure:

  • Heroes and Heartbreakers had a post of Sight Unseen excerpts–and included polls about who wrote what. I’ve so enjoyed hearing all the guesses. Please let me know yours using the #SUWho hashtag.
  • All five us talked the book concept at Happily Ever After.
  • I had an essay at Smexy Books about identity, truth, and disguise.
  • I went on the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books podcast along with Sherry Thomas and Erin Satie to talk Sight Unseen. It was surreal as I listen to the podcast all. the. time.

Sight Unseen Release Day

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It’s release day for Sight Unseen! This beauty is available in print and e-book at fine retailers everywhere, including AmazoniBooksB&NKobo, and Open Ink Press, and you can add it to your Goodreads shelves.

I feel like I haven’t talked about Sight Unseen enough because I can’t tell you about my novella. What I can say is writing it was amazing because I was able to just write. I didn’t have to worry about where it “fit” in my brand or how I would make it into a series. The characters, the words, the story: that was what mattered.

When I received the ARC, I devoured it. Then I went back and read it again more slowly. The pieces are radically different from each other and from everything the five of us write. Leave your expectations at the door on this one. In fact it might be better to approach them as five separate pieces with a hard reset between each, because they aren’t a cohesive collection. It’s five different experiments running simultaneously.

I’m biased, but I think the novellas each work on their own terms, with their own rewards of narrative and writing, but they also work within the game. Who wrote what? Can you guess? Does it matter?

I can promise it’s a unique reading experience–and I can’t wait to talk to you about my novella after the reveal in September. In the meantime, if you read Sight Unseen, let me know if you have any guesses either here or via the hashtag #SUWho on Twitter.

And if you’re here going, “who the heck is this Emma Barry person?”, it’s nice to meet you. I write contemporary romances about political staffers on my own and historical romances about the Space Race with my friend Genevieve Turner. I wrote a sort author mission statement a while ago, my bio is here, and you can find out more about my books here. Star Dust is currently free, and may I also recommend Earth Bound and Party Lines? They’re my favorites.

A Fine Romance Friday: To Catch a Thief

I’ve become a stress wraith. It’s the beginning of summer, I still have two weeks to work before my kids are done with school, I’ve been writing more than I have in years…and I’m feel like I’m about to shatter. It’s the situation in the world, I know, and looming deadlines and goals (all self-imposed), but my nerves are raw, exposed, and frayed.

When I get like this, it’s hard to read. I can’t seem to make my mind to settle long enough to digest prose. Even concentrating on a movie is hard because the things I should be doing keep exploding into my head. I find myself re-reading and re-watching both because those acts require less concentration but because I know what I’m getting into. The emotional pleasures of the re-watch are guaranteed.

So when I saw it was on Netflix, I instantly pressed play on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 romantic heist To Catch a Thief.

If somehow you haven’t seen it, our story is fairly simple: John Robie (Grant) spent many years as a notorious burglar known as The Cat. He’s retired to the French Riviera, but when jewelry starts to go missing, the cops come after him. Robie has to unmask the real thief before either the authorities jail him or the old members of his criminal gang take matters into their own hands and silence Robie for good.

Into this tangle comes Frances Stevens, played by an absolutely radiant Grace Kelly. She’s a cold, restless American heiress whose mother owns diamonds the unknown thief is stalking. Frances sees Robie as an interesting distraction, and intrigue and sparks fly.

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