The Writing Craft with Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese

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This is less about anything related to story, and more about what happens after your story is done and you’re shopping it around to publishers: The author bio.

What makes a good bio is something we’ve spent some time on lately, especially when we had a publisher ask for a much more personal biography of each of us than the format we generally prefer.

Most publishers will ask you for an author biography, and almost any marketing you do for your book will require one. It’s good practice to keep one on file, and update it regularly so that it’s always ready to go when you need it. We keep three on file — one for each of us individually, and a joint bio that we use for anything cowritten.

Bios can be tricky, because the most effective ones, at least as we’ve discovered, walk a fine line: On the one hand, bios are your place to make yourself accessible to the readers, to tell, in three-paragraph form, the story of your own life and interests. On the other hand, they’re also a mini-resume, a place to list your published titles, your awards, and other relevant industry-adjacent experience. Finding the right balance between “This is who I am” and “These are my accomplishments” can take some time.

Our original bio:

Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are 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.

Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.

What we settled on ultimately and what we’re currently using:

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.

We start with listing some individual interests and history: Racheline can fly planes. Erin is really into international relations. Something that gives people a taste of who we are and what we’re doing when we’re not writing romance.

And then we go into the “these are our achievements!” section: Our major titles (especially series), and the publishers they’re with. This gives people a sense of the scope of our work and — handily — where they can find it if they want to know more.

And of course, we end our bio with our blog URL. That way, if anyone wants to know more about us, be they a publisher or a potential reader, they have to do absolutely no Googling to find us. Easier for everyone!

Happy writing, and happy bio-ing :)

MidsummerFS

Amazon | AllRomance | B&N | Dreamspinner

Blurb:

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.

Connect with Erin & Racheline online:

Blog | Facebook Page | Erin’s Twitter | Racheline’s Twitter | Erin’s Goodreads | Racheline’s Goodreads | Erin’s Amazon Author Page | Racheline’s Amazon Author Page

 

Excerpt:

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.

Welcome Robert P. Rowe!

SecondStoryManLG

Pre-Order at Dreamspinner Press

Release Date
May 29, 2015

Blurb:

Offering a would-be thief a second chance is risky—especially when he could steal your heart.

Carlos had it all: a good-paying construction job, a truck, a rental house and his girl. Then he lost his job and everything else along with it. Desperate, he turns to crime—only to fail in his first attempt when he accidentally climbs into the wrong window. Carlos has to rethink his life when his victim becomes his only friend.

Michael has lost too many times in love. Prince Charming won’t be knocking at his door, with its do-not-disturb sign permanently in place, when fate finds Carlos climbing into his window. Michael’s compassion for this down-and-out lost soul turns to friendship. But Michael can’t allow things to go any further and still feel safe from heartbreak.

There are no accidents, and the second-story man discovers that in life and love there can be a second story.

Excerpt:

A hot August night is always good for an open window or two, and I’d spotted one on a deserted street. It looked like an easy climb. From the entrance stair it was a short hop onto the balustrade, an arm’s reach to the segmental pediment, and one last stretch across the brownstone wall. By the time I reached the second-story window, I figured out the climb wasn’t as easy as the construction-site scaffolds I was used to. Biker boots aren’t made for climbing. A tank top was great for showing off my brown-skinned muscles, but for climbing up a building it was stupid—I was all scratched up. If I’d planned this, I’d’ve worn a heavier shirt, with long sleeves.
My raw hands throbbed, but at least I made it. I peered inside. The room was dark, but the streetlight showed me enough. Just what I was looking for: a laptop on the dresser. I’d seen ’em at the pawnshop going for five or six hundred—that’s all the money I needed. Across from the dresser was a bed with some white guy—sleeping like a baby. His blanket was pushed down. The guy was half-naked because of the heat, and leaner than me. If I had to, I could take him.
I climbed in without a stir from the bed and headed straight for the computer. Shit! What was that? My own reflection in the dresser mirror made me jump. Suck it up, Carlos—you can do this. Still, my nerves were on edge. How did that gringo not hear my heart pounding? My sweaty hands were shaking as I struggled to unplug the laptop. Suddenly, something caught my eye. The reflection was big and looming up behind me—
Everything went dark. Sound was muffled. I was suffocating.
Gasping, I struggled against a fabric trap, clawing to free myself until I felt a full body blow take me down to the hard floor. The wind was knocked out of me, and the gringo was on top of me. Then I felt an excruciating whack across my forehead, and my world spun out of control.

Oh, man. What happened?
My head was whirling. I wasn’t sure I could open my eyes.
I took a deep breath, then forced one eye open. Too bright. Blurry. I think I was still in the same room. I opened the other eye, tilted my head. Man, did it hurt. A table lamp was glowing and I must’ve been in the bed. Hey, where’s my shirt? I looked around and there’s that gringo, sitting in the chair next to the bed. How’d that guy manage to get the jump on me? He was still half-naked, wearing some boxers, and he was holding—a bat!
“What the… I’m gettin’ the hell outta here.” I started to get up, but my head was spinning and— “Where’re my pants, ya faggot?” I was naked in this guy’s bed. “What’d ya do to me?”
“Me? I didn’t do anything. I picked you up at the bar. On the way home you got gay-bashed. I brought you up here because I think you might have a concussion. You’ll need to get some sleep.”
“Hey, man, I’m no faggot,” I yelled, making my head hurt all the more.
“Really? Then why are you naked in my bed?” Man, he was right. This really didn’t look good. “Whacking you with a bat could get me into trouble. Climbing in my window could get you into trouble. Nobody will bother to investigate some random gay-bashing.”
“So what now?” I felt trapped, but I defiantly dared him to answer. “Ya wanna fuck me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t waste my time with straight guys—too much drama.

 

Find Robert online:

Website | Blog

An Omega’s Heart is Out Everywhere!

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Amazon | B&N | ARe | Kobo | Totally Bound

This is book two in the The Under Wolves series.

When everything is lost, the only thing left to fight for is love.

Conley Elnon has been abused most of his life. He agrees to help the War Council in uncovering a vampire mole in exchange for having the opportunity to find his family. When he meets his mate Jacob, he leaves him in order to track a mad bomber intent on taking out shifter camps.

Jacob refuses to let his mate escape. He’s waited too long to find his fated mate to let him leave before he’s had a chance to say little more than hello. When he finds his mate in the middle of vampire territory, Jacob has to use all his skills to help his mate figure out the truth between vampires and shifters and how they are responsible for what happened to Conley’s family.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

For full series information check out Totally Bound’s website!

Winners of Amber’s Away contest!

Random.org has chosen our winners!

International Winner: Christina Az.

US Winner: Carla

Christina Az, I need you to email me and let me know either which backlist ebook you would like, or which future ebook you would like.

Carla, I need you to email me your mailing address, so I can get your mystery prize out to you!

Ladies, please email me at authoraccomplice@gmail.com

Didn’t win this time? Don’t be discouraged, I’m sure I’ll have more, don’t tell Amber, contests in the future! ;)

Throwback Thursday!

teasing jonathan

Amazon | B&N | Totally Bound | ARe

Blurb:

Book three in the Mercenary Love Series

After spending years defending his country, will Jonathan lose the battle over his heart?

When Jonathan Stevens meets Kai Stromwell, it’s attraction at first sight, but can a brief sizzle turn into a lasting fire? A series of events leads Jonathan to believe someone is trying to kill Kai. The question is who? With no obvious motives the most he can do is stick close to the handsome man and stay alert. Keeping Kai safe becomes the focus of his life while he fights his own personal demons.

Kai Stromwell has worked hard to build up his fortune. Upon meeting Jonathan he wonders if maybe there is more to life than long hours at the office. When attempts on his life become more and more aggressive, he turns to his new love for answers. Depending on someone has never been easy, but he would give up his millions if he could spend the rest of his life teasing Jonathan.

 

Excerpt:

 

With his makeshift breakfast sandwich in one hand, Jonathan left the building and headed for the crosswalk. His head hurt as the bright sun assaulted his eyes. Still walking, he slipped his sunglasses out of his pocket and slid them on.

He sighed at the instant relief. If only all of life’s problems were so easily fixed.

A small crowd of people had already gathered on the corner to wait for the light. Rush hour always had the sidewalks packed with people in suits rushing to their offices. The idea of spending all day confined in one space made Jonathan shudder. He did, however, like a man in a suit. Something about an elegant man all dressed up made Jonathan want to muss him.

Engrossed in his own thoughts, it took Jonathan a minute to notice the guy standing beside him. Once he spotted him, Jonathan couldn’t look away.

Beautiful. 

The tall, slim man had dark hair, professionally styled in layers, and wore a brown suit tailored to fit a well-proportioned body. Bright green eyes scanned Jonathan up and down as if he were one of Callum’s featured dishes and he couldn’t wait to dig in. Jonathan appreciated that the man stood only a few inches shorter than his own six-foot-four frame. He wasn’t one of those guys who wanted a smaller lover to cuddle. He preferred a strong man who could hold his own.

“Good morning, handsome,” the stranger said. His rich baritone voice rolled through Jonathan like a physical touch.

“Good morning.” Jonathan didn’t consider himself ugly, but the man beside him hit an eleven on a scale of one to five. Handsome without being too pretty.

Jonathan took a bite of his omelette sandwich so he wouldn’t drool.

The light changed and they both stepped off the curve. Jonathan’s eyes strayed back to the dark-haired man beside him instead of paying attention to the crowd. People tended to move out of his way by instinct, not wanting to be trampled by Jonathan’s big feet. Sometimes he felt like the monster in one of those old time horror movies where the people fled in terror from the large creature stomping through the city.

Only because his eyes were already trained on the stranger did he see the car barrelling towards them.

Moving on instinct, Jonathan dropped his breakfast and grabbed the guy’s arm. With a strong grip, he yanked them both to safety. The SUV’s tyres squealed as the driver bulldozed through the pack of pedestrians. Unfortunately the vehicle’s angle didn’t allow Jonathan to get a licence plate number before it raced away.

With an experienced eye, Jonathan evaluated the damage. He and the man he’d grabbed had escaped harm. However, not all the pedestrians were so lucky. No one appeared seriously injured, but a big guy in a business suit and shiny shoes had been clipped and lay on the street. His briefcase had slid across the asphalt, popped open, and the wind blowing his papers across the universe. Jonathan hoped he had extra copies.

A few women were crying from shock and several others stood on the sidewalk looking around as if waiting for the vehicle to return.

With his nerves surprisingly steady, Jonathan reached into his pocket to call the police. Once he reached an operator, he reported the incident in cool, even tones while he checked on the injured. Only one person’s wounds looked serious enough to probably require stitches, though several others had scrapes from falling on the rough road or sidewalk. Jonathan hung up after he’d given his location. They didn’t need him to stay on the phone tying up the line. Surveying the damage, Jonathan knew it could’ve been much worse. He hoped this day didn’t end with another string of nightmares.

“You saved my life,” a now-familiar, deep voice said.

Distracted by the wounded, Jonathan hadn’t seen anyone walk up behind him. He turned. The beautiful man he’d noticed before was standing on the sidewalk regarding him with an awed expression. Jonathan’s heart raced, no doubt still on edge from the jolt of adrenaline he’d received while escaping the path of the SUV.

Although he knew he’d pulled the man to safety, an odd compulsion gripped Jonathan to verify that the stranger had completely escaped injury. Stepping closer, he carefully examined the man from head to toe.

A wide smile crossed the stranger’s face. “I’m unhurt, thanks to you.”

“I’m glad I was there.” Jonathan didn’t want to even imagine the amount of damage the SUV would’ve caused if it had hit the other man going at full speed.

“You saved my life,” he repeated.

Jonathan clenched his fists to hide the trembling in his hands. To imagine this beautiful man’s life snuffed out made him queasy. He took a slow breath to balance out his churning stomach.

“It was probably a drunk driver,” Jonathan said dismissively. He didn’t know that for sure, but he didn’t want to cause panic among people already stressed from the incident. He didn’t know if anyone else was listening to their conversation and hearing that a psycho in a SUV had tried to end their lives probably wouldn’t go over very well.

The vehicle had appeared to be aiming at the man beside him, but barring a confession from the driver, Jonathan couldn’t prove anything. So far this hadn’t turned out to be a very good day.

“I’m Kai Stromwell.” The gorgeous guy held out his hand to Jonathan.

Well, there was one good part of his morning—the man standing in front of him. If Jonathan had ever collected any good karma in his life, he considered it completely paid back at that very moment.

“Jonathan Stevens, nice to meet you.” He shook hands with Kai and bit his lip to hold back a gasp as a jolt of sizzling attraction surged through him. The burst of electricity danced through his body and settled down below. Hell, he’d had full orgasms with less satisfaction than that one gentle touch.

“You feel it too, don’t you?” Kai asked, his eyes lit with excitement. Kai stepped closer and Jonathan barely resisted the urge to rub his body all over a guy he’d just met.

Jonathan nodded. He’d be an idiot if he didn’t admit it and at least pursue a date. That much attraction deserved exploration. They didn’t have to commit to a lifelong relationship. Right now Jonathan would settle for getting laid. Kai’s expression indicated that he might be open to that sort of proposition.

Before he could make any sort of arrangement, they were interrupted.

“Excuse me, but did either of you witness the hit and run?” a uniformed cop asked.

They both nodded.

The cops separated Jonathan and Kai to get their statements. Afterwards, Jonathan lost track of his new friend. Disappointment hit him as he realised he’d probably lost his one chance to get Kai’s phone number. Usually he’d think a man like that was out of his league, but the sexual magnetism zipping between them had told a different story.

 

Amber’s Away, We shall Play Contest!

RT-Convention-what-is-section04

Hi everyone,

It’s Sheri, Amber’s assistant. Amber is away meeting readers at the Romantic Times Convention in Dallas Texas. If you’re in town, Amber will be signing Saturday May 16, 2015 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. Here is the link if you want more information. https://www.rtconvention.com/event/giant-book-fair-0

 

Now on to why you’re all here!

 

Mystery Prize

 

I’ve decided to give away a Mystery Prize to one US commenter, because of shipping cost. For the international people, I’m going to give away one future Amber Kell ebook! So there will be two winners, one US based and on International.

If you’d like to win, please comment and in your comment make sure you say if you’re US or International. Also, for a fun question, if you could attend a book signing where Amber was signing, what book would you need to have Amber sign?

Throwback Thursday!

attractingFree at all outlets!

Amazon | B&N | ARe | Amber Kell Books

Anthony Carrow never thinks to find the love of his life when he goes to a bar with his best friend Steven Dell. Getting over the death of his lover has been a hard task for Anthony. After two years he’s still broken-hearted and doesn’t have any intention of joining the dating scene. However, going with Steven to scope out a werewolf club to help his friend find a mate leads to unexpected consequences.

Silver, alpha leader of the Moon pack, has been searching for his mate for a long time. Unhappy with the men he meets he’s given up searching for the man of his dreams until Anthony walks into the bar.

Can a man who’s already suffered a loss once be persuaded to give love a second try or will fear hold them back from finding the love they both deserve.

 

Excerpt:

Sweeping the dance floor with a piercing gaze, Silver searched for the source of his unease. From what he could see from his vantage point, everything appeared to be running smoothly. He saw no fights breaking out and no unwanted touching occurring. Out of habit, Silver closed his eyes and took a deep breath, inhaling the scents of the club. His senses first located members of his pack in the dense crowd. A few dozen were there to keep the club moving smoothly, a few others were hunting for mates of their own.

For several minutes, he couldn’t find anything different or new. Certainly nothing that demanded his attention. Silver was about give up when the scent of a deep, cool forest drifted up to him from the crowd.

Delicious.

Longing filled him. Silver yearned to run under the full moon with rich dirt flying under his clawed feet, to run to the source of that smell. His wolf howled inside him, aching to get out. With a great deal of effort, he snapped back to reality.

There wasn’t a patch of good running land for miles. Silver closed his eyes and inhaled again, turning his head as the smell drifted past. Unable to help it, the alpha growled.

Someone in the club smelled irresistible.

“What is it?” Thomas asked, his eyes riveted to the expression on Silver’s face.

“Don’t you smell that?”

“What?”

“Heaven.” Silver sighed.

Following the trail of the scent, Silver’s gaze landed on a dark-haired man in tight jeans and a red shirt who swaggered across the floor. An unremarkable looking man with dull blond hair, a sweet ass, and a scent from Silver’s hottest dreams. The blond’s movements were more like a graceful dance than a walk, as if the music itself propelled him across the floor. Without a shirt, he got a good look at the man’s smooth, tanned skin, poured over sleek muscles by a generous creator. The leather pants he wore outlined an ass so fine moisture pooled in Silver’s mouth. He had never met Mr Sweetass, but now was the time. It had been too damn long since someone had caught his attention.

“I think I just found the Mr Average of my dreams,” Silver muttered to his lieutenant. Placing his hands on the wooden banister, he gripped it firmly before flinging himself over the balcony. With their enhanced senses, the dancers fled with seconds to spare. Silver landed on the recently vacated space and strode through the quickly parting crowd to reach the pair now standing and talking in the corner.

The blond faced away from him, giving Silver a view of the tattoo across his upper back. His enhanced sight let him make out the word Andrew.

Fury rushed through Silver at the thought of someone else touching the sleek blond. If his splendid smelling man already belonged to another, there would be a murder tonight. No one else could own the man who would soon belong to Silver.

Mine.

The possessiveness he felt toward this one man took him by surprise, but it didn’t stop him from approaching the pair.

“Good evening, gentlemen. I’m Silver Moon, the owner of this club. I don’t believe I’ve had the chance to meet you. Are you new members?”

He was rather proud of the fact that he didn’t just grab the blond and drag him back to his lair.

See him use restraint.

Both men turned to face him, but Silver’s eyes locked onto the blond.

The dark-haired man stepped forward, drawing his attention. “Nice to meet you, Mr Moon. I’m Steven Dell, a new member, and this is my friend Anthony Carrow who’s come as my guest. I’m trying to talk Anthony here into getting back into the dating pool.”

“No.” The objection burst from his lips without a filter. Silver quickly followed it with a charming smile; he didn’t want to scare away the splendid smelling man. Anthony looked up, and Silver saw the color of the other man’s eyes for the first time. Amazing. This ordinary looking man had extraordinary golden eyes that sparkled like they were made of trapped sunlight.

“Is there something wrong with the men here?” Anthony asked in a smooth tenor, a sweet, dimpled smile lighting his plain face.

Silver cleared his throat to come up with something plausible. He concentrated on the brunet because he seemed to be the spokesman for them both.

“There’s nothing wrong with the men here, but you don’t want to jump into anything. Why don’t you two come back to my table? I’m always happy to get to know new members.” Not a complete lie. “The two of you will be able to see everyone from there.” He darted a glance at the blond. “I’d feel bad if you chose the wrong man on your first foray.”

Of course, Silver didn’t tell shy, sweet Anthony that the wrong man was anyone but him. Instead, he held out his hand and bit back a moan when the blond’s palm slid across his to shake.

There were many moments in Silver’s life that made up special memories, but this one eclipsed them all. It wasn’t every day you touched your mate for the first time.