Recommendation Club: F/F Romance

Genevieve and I are putting the finishing touches on Star Crossed. We’ll have an official release date and preorder links soon (and ARCs in the next two weeks), but before we get to that, I wanted to recommend some of the many, many female/female romances I’ve read.

About two years ago, I asked myself, “Why aren’t there any female/female romances?” This was after I’d previously asked, “Why aren’t there any political romances?” and “Why aren’t there any Muslim romances?”

The problem was all of these questions began with me assuming such romances didn’t exist simply because I hadn’t read them and/or I wasn’t seeing reviewed on the (primarily straight) romance blogs. And in each case, I was deeply wrong. It was the worst kind of “if I don’t know about it, it must not exist” fallacy. But luckily the moment I scratched the surface with my queries, dozens (if not hundreds) of books poured out.

It’s clear that romance suffers from a discoverability problem. For reasons I won’t speculate about in this post, female/female romance hasn’t had as much cross-over with f/m romance as m/m has, but as soon as I went looking for it, I found tons. Here are some of my favorites; let me know in the comments if I missed one of yours.

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It Must Have Been Moonglow

I find myself staring at the moon more and more.

It started in 2014 when Genevieve and I began writing Star Dust (yes, we’ve been working on this series for that long). The core of that book is the hero and heroine sitting in the dark saying things they wouldn’t otherwise. Secret confessions and wants and dreams and hopes, all accompanied by the stars.

To write those conversations, I would walk Gromit, my dog, late at night and contemplate the few constellations you can see in my suburban neighborhood. There is a lot of light pollution, but Orion is there. So is Taurus, which Kit shows Anne-Marie how to find. But mostly the moon dominates the view.

There are nights when the moon is so beautiful it hurts to look at it, and I can only manage a few brief glances. When it’s full, it seems so close I’ve reached up as if to nudge the craters with my fingertips. Lately, it’s been a gold scythe in the sky slicing through the blackness.

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Happy Holidays

plate of cookies, cocktail, and Christmas tree

butter crispies and cocktail

The fictional people in my head tend to stick around even when their books are published.

Like today, I suspect Millie and Parker would host a Chrismukkah event with Alyse and Liam and Lydia and Michael. They’d drink a lot and debate the election and laugh and cry and open presents and watch their children play. (And then Lydia and Michael would go home and toast their child-free state.)

I suspect Christmas would be a big deal for Joe and Frances given their pre-Christmas engagement. (Ditto for Greg and Betty with New Year’s Eve.) Joe would give Frances a new diary and they’d listen to Perry Como. Anne-Marie would cook something elaborate, and Margie Dunsford would throw an epic holiday party with lights on her tiki torches and green and red drinks and a Jello mold.

I’ll have a proper year end wrap-up post soon, but wherever you are and whatever you’re celebrating, I wish you joy in 2017.

Round Midnight Release Day!

MidnightKiss copy

Round Midnight is here! This is boxed set includes the Fly Me to the Moon Christmas and New Year’s Eve novellas, A Midnight Clear and A Midnight Kiss. It’s available at AmazoniBooksB&N, and Google Play (it’ll be at Kobo soon). Those links are all ebook, but you can get it in print too. Here’s the short description:

A pair of holiday romances featuring a romantic sailor, a duty-bound admiral’s daughter, and a Christmas miracle and an uptight pilot, a jilted southern belle, and a New Year’s Eve kiss.

These are both swoony mid-century courtship stories; it’s the book version of a hug and a spiked hot chocolate. The world needs some of that right now.

Interviews!

Genevieve and I interviewed each other for Binge on Books. A tiny sample:

[E]: I definitely believe writers have core stories or mythologies, and mine is about characters whose plans have failed. My heroines especially tend to be disappointed or reevaluating their professional lives when things get confused by meeting someone. My heroes tend to be gooey inside, even when they present a harder face to the world, and are very, very gone for my heroines. Maybe at some point I’ll feel like I have my life figured out and my core story will shift, but I’m intrigued by imperfect people who are perfect for each other and how that intersects with their professional lives, so I don’t think I can get away from it. …

[G]: I guess the one thing I do that is related to my scientific career is how I develop my books: At some level, I’m just constructing operant chambers for my characters.

You can read the entire thing here.

And this dropped a while ago, but I don’t think I ever posted it on my blog: we chatted with Cobie Daniels for her podcast, which you can listen to here. We talk for about an hour about what we’re watching on TV and how we research and write.

I’ve been writing so many words (SO MANY WORDS) and just being overwhelmed by the rhythm of autumn. But I hope everyone is well!

Odds and Ends

  • I wrote a piece for the Perspectives blog at Open Ink Press about time, selfishness, and creativity.  A tiny taste: “In my more honest moments, I have come to suspect I like writing because it is selfish, because it is useless. So much of my day is about what I can do, what I can make. My writing isn’t—which is to say so far it hasn’t been—useful. This is extra. This is different. The beauty in this comes from what it is not.” You can read the whole thing here.
  • This is one of those things that doesn’t make a huge difference to readers, but I’m now represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency. She’s lovely and excited about my writing, and I’m thrilled to be working with her. If you’re one of the few, the proud, the people who like my contemporaries, I’m working on new series. (Yay!) I won’t have any concrete news for a while, but the wheels are turning and all that.
  • I’m so excited about the trailer for Hidden Figures, and I know I’m doing branding right since approximately a dozen people either emailed or Tweeted to me about it. Genevieve and I are currently writing Star Crossed (Bev and Geri’s book); we’ll have news soon on our mailing list about it and…other things.
  • If you’re have a manuscript sitting around and need something to do with it, my local RWA chapter’s contest just opened. I can verify that the final round judges are impressive. Go forth and enter!

Happy Fourth!

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Happy Fourth of July to my American friends and readers! (And happy treason day to everyone else?)

I imagine Millie, Parker, Alyse, Liam, Lydia, and Michael (from The Easy Part) would probably grill and watch their kids play and snark about the election. And all the astronauts, engineers, and other folks from Fly Me to the Moon would cook out at Margie’s and perhaps eat a Jello mold like this one.

If you want to replicate it on your own, I used this Sparking Summer Berry Jello recipe. I omitted the rum and scaled it up for this 10-cup mold which belonged to one of my grandmothers. It did not turn out perfectly, but it’s certainly festive and dramatic.

I’m in my writing cave at the moment, but I’ll be back soon with new words. Happy summer!

A Fine Romance Friday: Down with Love

“Why, dear Emma, do you write mid-century romance, a subgenre which isn’t really a subgenre?”

“Well, gentle reader, the answer is simple: Down with Love.”

That’s right, this week’s fine romance Friday is Peyton Reed’s rom-com Down with Love (2003), which if you don’t know, stars Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.

To talk about the plot of this movie is almost to the miss the point, but to blurb it briefly: Ewan McGregor is Catcher Block, “a man’s man, ladies man, man about town” who writes for KNOW Magazine (basically GQ). His newest assignment: write a tell-all about Barbara Novak (Ms. Zellweger), whose bestseller Down with Love is setting off a feminist revolution. He blows her off, then she insults him on TV, he becomes intrigued by her and pretends to be an yokel astronaut in order to seduce her and reveal to the world that she’s a–no, not that!–fraud. Except of course none of this works out. Hijinks ensue. And roll tape.

Look, you’re either intrigued by this set-up or you’re not. And I wouldn’t blame you if you want to run away screaming; this movie probably isn’t most people’s cup of tea. Except here’s the thing: I grew up watching way too much AMC, but back in the early 90s when AMC actually played classic movies. (Remember that?) And among those films were That Touch of MinkSend Me No Flowers, Lover Come Back, and most of all Pillow Talk.

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A Fine Romance Friday: The Dish

Last night, I tweeted a bunch of funny, sexist, offensive, and odd nuggets from Gen’s and my research for the Fly Me to the Moon books. I Storify-ed the entire thing here in case you missed it.

On to today’s movie recommendation: The Dish, a 2000 drama directed by Rob Sitch starring Sam Neill and Patrick Warburton.

Before we get into the plot, I must warn you that this is not technically a romance.  Which is to say that there is a very small, though very sweet, romance subplot. But since my conceit with these posts is fine romances, the real romance here is with humans and the moon. What’s on that big rock in the sky? Can we get there? And what will we risk to share human exploration with the world? (And yes, I’m trying to tie it into my promo this week. Just roll with it.)

The Dish begins a few days prior to the July 1969 lunar landing. It’s set in Parkes, Australia, home to the largest satellite dish in the world. Parkes is one of the sites that’s going to help transmit the images from the moon to television sets everywhere.

The Dish is an ensemble piece, flitting from story to story: the bumbling mayor, with his devoted wife and his would-be radical daughter; the nerdy engineers and technicians who work at the dish who chafe under the oversight of the incredibly uptight engineer sent from NASA to oversee their work; and everyone else in town who can’t believe a man is going to walk on the moon and they are kind of, sort of adjacent to history.

The plot isn’t any more complicated than that. Things go wrong, and they fix them. History is achieved, and the pictures transmitted. It’s based on real events, although one major plot development is invented and I’m sure much of the rest is heavily fictionalized. But the charm of it comes in things that I can’t summarize for you: quiet conversations between friends, a fabulous late 60s soundtrack and perfect costumes, and this amazing thing that, almost 50 years later, it’s stunning that humans achieved. This isn’t an earth-shattering movie, but it’ll make you smile.

For this week’s fine romance Friday, cook up some lamb and watch The Dish.