Cover for RADIO SILENCE!

RADIO SILENCE, book one of my post-apocalyptic New Adult OFF THE GRID series will be released by Carina Press in February of 2015! I’m really excited about sharing Arden and Gabriel’s story, and getting an awesome cover has made the experience even better. Here it is!

CARINA_0215_9781426899638_RadioSilence

Here’s a brief summary of the book:

Arden Highmore is majorly cynical, but even she wouldn’t have predicted the end of the world–or at least the world as she knew it. One winter day, everything modern society has grown to rely on–electricity, cell phones, and, unfortunately, plumbing—stops working. Arden and her best friend John flee to his family’s cabin near the Canadian border. On the way there, they’re assaulted by scavengers, but saved by John’s hot brother Gabriel, who takes an instant dislike to Arden.

The duo think they’ve finally found refuge at the Seong’s cabin, but things aren’t quite as peaceful as they seem: John’s parents are missing. Maggie, their teenage sister, resents Gabriel for treating her like a child. No one knows what, exactly, is going on in the outside world, and in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a thin line between love and hate, indeed .

In the coming months, I’ll share more about the book, including the official cover copy, excerpts, and outtakes, but in the meantime it’s available for pre-order if you’re interested. :)

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Multicultural Romance Tropes: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong

(This post first appeared in the September issue of the RWA-NYC newsletter, Keynotes.)

As with any subgenre, multicultural romance has developed a few tropes of its own, some good, some not so good. Often, the not so good is added for a sense of verisimilitude, which I respect, but when reality teeters into the land of cliché, reader cringing and/or throwing of books may occur.

Here are my least favorite multicultural tropes:

1.) The strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man. This trope is not my cup of tea in whatever subgenre it appears, but I find it especially irksome in Af-Am/interracial romance. It can become the sole cause of conflict between the hero and heroine. “I can’t date you because I want to get a college degree/get a promotion/start a business and a boyfriend will keep me from doing that.” Um, no. Plenty of people navigate relationships and a whole slew of other responsibilities on top of education/career.

2.) The character who speaks in dialect. Okay, so you’re writing a multicultural romance. You want your characters to seem real, and you once watched a show where an Asian character screamed “You pay now!” or a black guy said “It bes like that,” so maybe your character should say these things, too?

danger

Just as with the Scottish burr in Highland romances, use your multiethnic equivalents of “dinna fash” and “lass” sparingly.

3.) Our complexions are different, let’s discuss this while we’re boning. Now, I’m not going to divulge how I know this, but the color of someone’s skin, the texture of their hair, and the shape of their eyes should be the last thing you’re thinking of while getting it on if you’re doing things right. While of course you need to describe your characters, veer away from fetishizing them as they’re getting frisky.
These are all in fun—I’ve seen writers pull off each of these pet peeves. When dealing with any trope, knowing what has been done before and how to give it a fun fresh, take is key.

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Happiness Is A Corgi Getting A Massage

Last weekend I was in an editing delirium while finishing developmental edits on my the first book in my postapocalyptic series with Carina Press, Radio Silence. The rest of the week was busy, and the weekend will be busy, too. More writing, starting to pack for an international move, making time for friends and family. Instead of getting stressed out, I’m going to channel my inner pampered corgi:

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“Racism Is A Distraction”: Writing During Ferguson

This is a deadline week for me. I have to get the developmental edits for the first novel in my postapocalyptic series back to the editor by the end of the weekend. I have a full-time job, my birthday was this week, and my husband was here until just a couple of days ago, so time was short. But you know what cut into my editing time the most? The scenes straight from a dystopian book that have played out on my computer (I emphasize computer because mainstream media has had crap coverage) of the events in Ferguson. Having to monitor a police coup in my own country seriously cut into time that could have been spent developing dialogue. Watching officers point military grade weapons at peacefully protesting civilians made it hard to focus on fleshing out the relationship between two friends. Being unable to amp up the heat in a sex scene because I was too angry that some people believe that being shot in the street like an animal is good enough for people who look like me? That really sucks. Not to be trite, but institutional racism is fucking with my writing mojo.

Last month, some rare recordings of Toni Morrison speeches at Portland State University were unearthed. This is the snippet that has come to mind for me all week:

distraction

The events of this week are much more important than a writer falling behind in her edits. But these events aren’t that unusual. They’ve gone on for hundreds of years. I can’t help but think that hundreds of years of distractions takes a toll.

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Better Late Than Never

I never added my pics from the RWA/NYC Romance Fest at the Morris-Jumel Mansion! So here they are. This was my first reading ever. I read from my short story in the FOR LOVE & LIBERTY anthology, the aptly titled Be Not Afraid. (I was shaking like a leaf.) The multicultural/LGBT revolutionary war panel with Lena Hart, Kate McMurray, and Stacey Agdern was lots of fun, and we had some great questions from the crowd.

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RWA-NYC Morris-Jumel Romance Festival

  Morris-Jumel House

The RWA-NYC is having their first ever romance festival at the Morris-Jumel Mansion! It’s located at 65 Jumel Terrace at 160th Street (the closest train is the C at 163 street-Amsterdam Avenue).

A little about the history of the house:

In the fall of 1776, the Mansion was seized by the Continental Army and served as headquarters for George Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights. British and Hessian commanders occupied the house after Washington’s retreat from New York.

In the summer of 1790, Washington returned to the Mansion and dined with the members of his cabinet. Among those at the table were Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Knox.

In 1810, wealthy French wine merchant Stephen Jumel and his American wife, Eliza, purchased the Mansion, and spared no expense refurbishing it. In 1828, they returned from Paris with crates of furniture and paintings, much of which they claimed had belonged to Napoleon. A year after Stephen Jumel died in 1832, his widow married former vice president Aaron Burr. The marriage ended quickly and Eliza lived alone in the house until her death in 1865.

At 4:00, I’ll be on a panel with Lena Hart, Kate McMurray, and Stacey Agdern discussing the For Love & Liberty anthology, as well as multicultural and LGBT historical fiction. There will be other great panels, as well as author readings, raffles, giveaways, and more!

 

RWA/NYC Morris-Jumel Mansion Romance Festival

Saturday, June 14th 2014
1:00 – 4:30 pm

The Morris-Jumel Mansion
65 Jumel Terrace
(between West 160th & 162nd Street)

Admission is FREE!

Guest Speakers
Anna DePalo (USA Today Best Selling Contemporary Romance Writer: The Romance Genre)
Elizabeth Mahon (Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women)
Carol Ward (Director Morris-Jumel Mansion: The Loves of Eliza Jumel)

Panel
For Love and Liberty:
Multicultural and LGBT Love Stories during the American Revolution
With – Stacey Agdern, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Kate McMurray

Tours of the Morris-Jumel Mansion will be available throughout the day!

Authors Readings * Books for Sale

Raffles * Giveaways

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Weddings, Interviews, and General Moving and Shaking

SO: May was a super busy and super exciting month for yours truly. In addition to finishing edits on my story for the For Love & Liberty anthology and starting edits on new adult post-apocalyptic romance, I also planned a wedding and got married. In retrospect, it all went pretty smoothly, but I spent most of the last month in the fetal position. Now June is here and I’m kicking summer off with a fun interview with the great Vicki Batman at Coffee Time Romance. She asks me some great questions about Eagle’s Heart, Julian, and writing about the Albanian mafia. Check it out here if you get a chance!

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