My favorite gals return: Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese don all new hats and join the party for a third time! <3 (THANK YOU!) Check out their interview and their TWO giveaways!!
Describe your muse to us!
Racheline: I approach what we do as acting, as improv. Erin has to put up with my shifting into character dialogue and body language at the drop of a hat, often unplanned. I can say, well, this is a thing I’ve been trained to do, which it is. Or I can describe it as possession. Talk about socially awkward.
Erin: And I’m the one who gets to transcribe the improv. Alternately, my muse is the thing that hits when I am in the shower or -- more usually -- driving, which means diving for my phone as soon as I hit a red light, so I can scribble down the idea before I lose it. So apparently, my muse is very clever and has a very cruel streak.
If you could take a writing holiday, where would you go and what project would you dedicate yourself to?
Erin: We have plans for this, actually. On top of some other work stuff, we’re going out to L.A. to do some sightseeing, do a lot of location research, and spend as much time as possible writing a novel we haven’t gotten a chance to start yet -- the May/June/December triad story.
Racheline: We’re also going to be at RainbowCon this year with our partners, who are also writers, but I don’t know if any of us will manage to get in any writing while we’re there. My partner’s mostly in it for rollercoasters and a tiger rescue tour thing, and Erin and I are both on a ton of panels.
What do you think exists at the heart of the universe?
Racheline: I was going to say something melancholy, like loss, because that’s how I’m wired, but screw that. Daschunds. The universe is powered by daschunds.
Erin: I am down with a universe powered by dachshunds. But personally, I think that’s where all the lost socks from the drier go. Giant ball of static and fluff.
Your lives now hang on winning a game of darts. Are you going to die?
Racheline: I’m actually pretty solid at darts so we might be okay. Also, I have a lot of western martial arts training and know weird ways to kill people, so theoretically still okay; even if the game goes south I could bust us out of there!
Erin: Yeah no I’m totally doomed.
What do you think it means to be an author?
Racheline: If you write you are a writer. If you finish things you are an author.
What one word is most beautiful to your ears or eyes?
Erin: Gloaming. I love the sound of it, I love the feel of it when I say it, I love how it looks on the page, and I love the thing itself.
Racheline: Can I say moist just to antagonize people? I’m actually very fond of the word miasma.
Tell us about a time you were brave.
Racheline: For my day job I do a ton of international travel, often alone, often to locations where I don’t have the language and/or English is not widespread. It’s getting to be relatively old hat (see what I did there, Hat Party?) in that I know what to do when I don’t know what to do, but that type of travel involved a lot of being brave in terms of trusting your own instincts and also the kindness of others.
Erin: I did a reading -- from Starling, the first book in the Love in Los Angeles series -- here at a cafe in D.C. last fall. I was terrified. Public speaking is sooo Not My Thing. But I did it, and was (apparently) charming in my awkwardness, and it actually went really well.
How have you changed as collaborators since the first time you visited The Hat Party?
Erin: We plan less, now. Which might sound like we’re less organized or like we plot things less than we used to, but that’s not it. It used to be that, we would come up with an outline, and then plan out who, exactly, would write which scene when. Now, we come up with the outline, and then whoever has the time next just writes. It’s more efficient, really, and we know each other and our storyteliing style better. What’s really happened, I think, is that we’ve honed and developed our hive mind ;)
Racheline: I think we’re a lot less cautious with each other. We actually didn’t know each other that well when we started writing together and Erin’s very private and I’m just… not. But you do enough awkward Google searches in the name of the work and you survive a dozen release days, and you just get over it.
Because we all know there is one, what’s the dark side of being published authors?
Racheline: There are hours lost to looking at my Amazon rankings I will never get back.
Erin: I genuinely lose track of which book I’m working on in the middle of working on it. Like am I editing the book that actually came out six months ago? The one that comes out next month? The one we haven’t even submitted yet? It’s bad.
And finally, when they send the first dachshund into space, what will his/her awesome astronaut name be?
Racheine: Dashing Commander Daschund, duh. Even our imaginary dogs are rogues.
Erin: I can’t improve on that.
(Raine says: Best name ever.)
~ ~ ~
John Lyonel, a long-time theater professional and teacher, heads to Virginia to play Oberon in the Theater in the Woods’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, intending to focus on his work. John is recovering from the tragic loss of his family and needs a break. The last thing he expects is to become captivated by Michael Hilliard, the professional actor playing Puck, especially since John has never been attracted to men, let alone one so much younger.
They rush headlong into an affair which falls apart dramatically over secrets that John and Michael are keeping from each other. A steep learning curve, the gossipy cast of the show, and the sometimes sinister magic of the woods conspire to keep them apart. But stage lights and stars might work their magic and help them define a new future.
Tags: Bisexual, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, MM Romance, Romance
Costume fittings and dress rehearsals means that John finally gets to see Michael costumed as Puck. The human characters are dressed contemporarily, in suits and cocktail dresses that become increasingly disheveled as the show goes on. The fairies, though, are dressed in greens and browns with crowns of strange wildness -- thistles, cornsilk, and Queen Ann’s lace. Michael as Puck looks deeply inhuman, covered in leaves as if dragged in from the wooded grounds. For their first dress rehearsal, it takes all of John’s considerable experience and willpower to actually focus on the play and not Michael. As taken as Oberon is meant to be with Puck, he should actually be able to remember and deliver his lines.
“Whose idea was this?” he asks Michael afterward, catching him before he can change. Michael blinks at him with eyes done up in silver and green. John wants to devour him.
“Do you like it?” Michael asks, more distant and coy than usual, sliding his hands up John’s chest which, like his own, is bare.
All John can do is groan when Michael looks up at him from under his lashes. He stands on his tiptoes to kiss John briefly, and then vanishes. When he reappears he’s Michael again, in t-shirt and shorts, but John can’t forget the image of him transformed.
*What inspired Midsummer?
For Midsummer, we were inspired by our love of Shakespeare, our love of theater, and our obsession with productions that deal with the (written or unwritten) queerness in Shakespeare’s texts.
~ ~ ~
Sometimes the end of everything…
Now happily married to writer and producer Paul Marion Keane, television star J. Alex Cook’s life has been a fairytale of success and romance for years. But when an unexpected tragedy throws his and Paul’s social circle into chaos, the alumni of hit TV show The Fourth Estate are forced to pick up the creative pieces left behind.
...is just the beginning
Confronted with his own mortality, Paul suggests he and Alex start a family. But figuring out what family means when your best friends’ polyamorous marriage may be melting down and you have Hollywood’s most malevolent fairy godmother to thank for your success is no easy proposition.
As Alex questions whether anyone in a profession full of make believe can truly have fame, fortune, kids, and the happily ever after of their dreams, he sets out to take control of his own life and discover that the best love stories never truly end.
Phoenix is Book 3 in the Love in Los Angeles series.
Tags: Bisexual, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay fiction, MM Romance, Menage/Poly, Romance
As soon as they get onto the 101 and the promise of L.A. falls back behind them, Alex rolls the windows down, flips on the radio to the same sort of shitty country rock he still hasn’t managed to outgrow, and smiles at the still too-dry landscape whizzing by.
Paul is eager to talk. So much has been so strange lately, but Alex looks more unencumbered that Paul has seen him in what feels like years. It’s a silent admonition for him to let go of some of the tension in his shoulders and worry in his heart himself. They have four days and more than words to remind themselves that they’ve always known each other’s secrets, and Paul decides to just smile, and let things go.
That they are on the way to Liam and Victor’s secret getaway is, at this point, only humorously weird. Alex made a compelling point regarding pre-vetted discretion, and then sucked up making the phone call where he made sure they weren’t going to wind up with their room, as if all the beds in any accommodation don’t see hundreds of guests per year. It either worked, or, Paul tells himself with a wry grin, they’ll at least hopefully never know if it didn’t.
They talk quietly not to hash out any of their many lingering issues but simply for the pleasure of the conversation. Alex is a font of interesting trivia and curious questions about the process of filmmaking, and it’s a relief to talk in terms of art and abstract about the thing that dictates their lives in very practical and concrete ways. Somewhat to Paul’s surprise, Alex hasn’t forgotten about the school thing, and talks seriously about going to college.
“I can’t believe Liam and Carly don’t know what sex the baby is,” Paul blurts at one point when he’s taken over driving.
“Dirty hippies,” Alex grins.
“I’d want to know. Wouldn’t you?”
Alex nods. Then he asks, “Which do you want?”
“Don’t care,” Paul says.
“Liar,” Alex says with a completely smug grin.
Paul grins. “Why, what about you?”
“Girl,” Alex says easily.
Paul’s face goes soft. “I didn’t know that.”
“Mhmm. Just not with the fucking freckles. For her sake,” he adds, because being eight is hard enough on its own without those to contend with.
“Your freckles are sexy.”
“You are sexy.”
“I am also weird.”
Paul laughs with delight.
They stop at a little store on the way, because wine and cheese and bread are necessities. Alex leans against their car in the parking lot, the bow of his sunglasses in his teeth as he checks their onward directions on his phone and utterly not giving a shit about anyone else in the vicinity who is not Paul.
When Paul kisses him, just a peck at the corner of his mouth because sunglasses, Alex grins at him. From the way Paul smiles back, Alex knows his eyes are crinkling up.
Late afternoon sun pours in from a window looking out over a valley that is ridiculously bucolic but also totally gorgeous, making the floorboards and knotty pine walls glow. The furniture and rugs and bedding are all patterned in rich reds and browns, and the whole place feels about as far from the hideous modernism of L.A. as is possible to get.
They make out on the bed forever, lazy and playful until Paul bites hard at Alex’s shoulder and Alex whimpers, his head falling back against the pillows and his limbs going loose and pliant.
“Requests or protests?” Paul asks, starting to pull off Alex’s clothes.
Alex just shakes his head.
After, Alex sprawls the wrong way on the bed, both of them just listening to the other’s breathing. It feels delightful and easy and not ominous at all. He hates that that’s a thing to note, but is so glad they are here, even if ridiculous sex is part of how.
He’s jolted out of sleep by the sound of Paul’s phone ringing.
“You have got to be fucking kidding,” Paul says groggily, rolling over in bed and into Alex’s feet, because he’s still lying the wrong way on the bed.
Alex just covers his face with his hands and moans quietly until Paul picks the damn phone up.
“It’s Carly,” Paul says before he answers it. Alex takes his hands off his face to stare.
Paul doesn’t say much, just, “Really? And “Okay,” and “Do you need anything?” and “We’ll be there.” When he hangs up, he stares at Alex.
“Do not tell me Carly went into labor three hours after we got away on vacation,” Alex says flatly. He’s not upset, just stunned and baffled at the logic of the universe.
“She’s on her way to the hospital now.”
“Oh my god.”
“And Liam’s flying out from New York.”
“Oh my god.”
“And we really do have to put on clothes and drive back.”
Alex buries his face in his hands and moans.
*What inspired Phoenix?
For Phoenix, we wanted to tell a story about loss -- not just about grief and sadness, but about how people cope with life-altering losses, and move forward.
*What are your hopes for these titles?
World domination. I mean. oops, outloud voice! As always, we write these stories and hope people find them truthful.
About the Authors:
Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, and delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.
Racheline Maltese lives a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car. A long-time entertainment and media industry professional, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.
Together, they are co-authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry -- Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015) -- from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella series Love’s Labours, set in the theater world -- Midsummer (May 2015), and Twelfth Night (Fall 2015), is from Dreamspinner Press. They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.
Joint Blog: http://Avian30.com
Joint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Erin.and.Racheline
Erin’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/erincmcrae
Racheline’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/racheline_m
Erin’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8323893.Erin_McRae
Racheline’s Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1015335.Racheline_Maltese
Erin’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Erin-McRae/e/B00M7A0SVC
Racheline’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Racheline-Maltese/e/B001JRVS2C
Erin and Racheline are giving away one e-copy of Midsummer and one e-copy of Starling, Book 1 of the Love in Los Angeles series!! Comment below with your email address for a chance to win one of these two prizes. (Two winners will be drawn!) Contest ends on June 17th @ 11:59 p.m. CST.