Summer Loving

There were a lot of things in my head when I started writing Special Interests: a scene involving a boy giving a girl references so she’ll go out with him; Bob Woodward’s book about the 2008/2009 economic crisis, The Price of Politics; and the movie (500) Days of Summer.

I did not, for the record, hate the latter as much as many people did. (And I am going to spoil it in what follows. You’ve been warned.)

For starters, my own relationship to hipsterism is complicated. For a long time, I thought it was a word that Allen Ginsberg uses early in “Howl” and nothing more. Then one day in about 2006 I realized that it was a thing–a real, contemporary thing–and many of my friends demonstrated symptoms. Not in a bad way. Not in a pretentious way. But in an “Have you heard the new Wilco album?” “are you coming to my urban canning party?” “you did NOT just use a paper towel” way.

Continue reading “Summer Loving”

Special Interests Release Day!

A year ago this happened…

Carina Pitch Screenshot


…and now the book is available at at AmazonB&NCarinaiBooksKoboAll Romance, and Google Play. Also Goodreads.

I wrote Special Interests because I had to, specifically because I had to get a scene out of my head. In almost an act of exorcism, I wrote it down and put it away.

It didn’t work.

But why are they acting like that? I asked myself. So I figured out the characters’ previous interactions, and their backstories, and then what happened next. I’m being intentionally vague because that first scene is essentially chapter 10 (the dialogue changed very little). From that odd little scene, the book grew.

I was at the Goddess Fish release party yesterday with some teasers. I’ll update this post throughout the week should any more coverage appear. But in the meantime, I’m excited and nervous and apprehensive and thrilled it’s finally out.

Mostly, though, I’m grateful to the people who supported me when I was writing the book, who took it seriously and helped me make it better, and who have told me they want to read it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Special Interests isn’t autobiographical, but it is deeply personal. If you do pick it up–no pressure!–I hope you’ll like it.

ETA: So I’d been linking to reviews, etc. here and–surprise!–it created trackblogs on those blogs. Oops. Technological stupidity strikes again! I deleted those links because I didn’t want to mess with reader-only spaces or to seem like I was censoring them in any way. I love reviews–any and all reviews–and definitely don’t want to meddle. I’ve contacted the blogs and asked them to delete the trackbacks. But in the meantime, just pretend I was never there. ; )

The Problem with Politics

I hate electoral politics and think politicians and staffers are all creeps. Should I read Special Interests?

I’ve written before about politics in romance novels, about how I think all romance novels are political but some politics announce themselves while others hide in plain sight. So if you read romance, I would say you’re already reading political books.

But…the politics in Special Interests aren’t hidden, not even a little. The hero, Parker, is a senior aide to an important senator; the heroine, Millie, works for a construction union. The book revolves around a budget negotiation. It is very much about the American political process–good, bad, and indifferent.

Further, it’s partisan. Millie and Parker are both liberal Democrats, though being members of the same party doesn’t help them. They argue about politics and their different orientations toward the political process, and what these differences mean about their personalities, are at the heart of the conflict in the book.

Despite all that, I don’t think it’s a partisan book. There are characters in the book who are “bad” (broadly speaking) who agree with our hero and heroine politically. There are characters in the book who are “good” (again broadly speaking) who are conservative. I don’t want to spoil the end of the budget subplot, but it isn’t achieved at anyone’s expense. It isn’t about demonizing or lionizing either party.

The next book in the series isn’t partisan at all and is in general less overtly political. The third book is going to feature a cross-party romance. Things worked out the way they did in Special Interests because it felt like the truest representation of the characters and the place, not because I have any sort of agenda. Most importantly, I don’t think that one’s enjoyment of the book is contingent on agreeing with the characters.

So should you read the book if you think Washington is a cesspool of corruption? Only you can answer that. If anything to do with laws and politics raises your blood pressure, probably not. (Though in light of all the discussion about online reviewing and author backlash, let me say that if you don’t like the book–either because of politics or anything else–I totally support your right to review it honestly however and wherever you want. Reviews are for readers not writers. While bad reviews are unpleasant, I’ll live and I won’t harass you about it. Promise.)

But if you want a (I hope!) witty, sexy, honest portrait of young DC staffers trying to make the federal budget and love work, I think Special Interests is for you.

Special Interests: Opening Chapter

Since some reviewers have gotten their hands on Special Interests (and if you’re a reviewer, you can too; check NetGalley!), I thought it was only fair to post the opening chapter for non-reviewer consumption. Follow me below the fold…

Continue reading “Special Interests: Opening Chapter”

Snow Day Teaser

So it’s snowing here. And snowing in DC. And thus you get the very first teaser from Special Interests.

“Man, you need to get it together. This negotiation is killing your mojo. If this drags on much longer, you’re going to need professional help,” Jim chided, apparently having overheard.

Parker sent him a dark look. “Did I ask you?”

“I can’t believe you asked anyone. Parker Beckett? Soliciting dating advice? It’s like a DC blizzard. I’ve seen it, but I don’t really believe it. Afterward, it was all hazy and fictional.”

Parker tried to change the subject. “Did you end up talking to Liz Wallace again after I left last night?”

“No, I didn’t. But to be clear, are you still seeing the labor girl?”

“Her name is Millie. And yes.”

More teasers soon. In the meantime, you can pre-order it on Amazon or add it to your Goodreads shelves.

eARCs and Promo for Special Interests

Guess what I am in possession of? The final files for Special Interests!

If you review contemporary romance and find the idea of the book interesting at all, please let me know. (For more information about Special Interests, look here.) 

It should appear on NetGalley in the very near future, and I’ll update this post when it does, but if you have a problem with your NetGalley request, or if you don’t use NetGalley, or if you just can’t wait to get your hands on it, please email me at author.emma.barry (at) with a link to your blog and your preferred format. While I’m limited in how many I can give away and can’t give one to everybody, if you want to review it, I want to help you get it. All I ask in return is for an honest review.

Also, if you blog about or review contemporary romance and are interested in featuring the book, doing an interview with me, running an excerpt, etc., please send me an email and we’ll see if we can work something out.

ETA: If you want to sign up for the review tour via Goddess Fish Promotions, you can do so here.

ETA2: It’s on NetGalley now!

Cover Reveal: Special Interests

After months of waiting (at least that’s what it feels like), here is the cover for Special Interests.

Special Interests Cover

Do you love it? It captures so much of the mood and setting of the book. I can’t stop looking at it.

Seeing the cover makes my book release seem real. I’ll post some excerpts in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here’s the blurb.

Continue reading “Cover Reveal: Special Interests”

Blurb for Special Interests

I’m totally not bouncing up and down or anything because the back cover copy for my next book is out. No, not at all. But since you mentioned that you wanted to see it (you did right? I thought I heard something) here is the full blurb for Special Interests.

Compared to love, politics is easy

Union organizer Millie Frank’s world isn’t filled with cocktails and nightclubs…until she’s turned into an unwitting minor celebrity. As if being part of a hostage situation wasn’t traumatizing enough, now her face is splashed across the news. But Millie’s got fresher wounds to nurse—like being shot down by the arrogant bad boy she stupidly hit on.

Parker Beckett will do whatever it takes to close a deal for the senate majority leader, including selling out union labor. Charming and smart on the surface, he’s also cynical and uncommitted—an asset on the Hill. But something about Millie has stuck with him and when negotiations bring her to his office, Parker breaks his own rules and asks her out.

Parker can’t understand how Millie has retained her idealism in a place like D.C. Millie can’t believe what Parker’s willing to sacrifice in order to pass a budget. But as they navigate their political differences, what grows between them looks a lot like a relationship…and maybe even a little like love.

If you want, you can add it to your Goodreads shelves or preorder it on Amazon.