Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Born To Be White: How Biracial Historical Heroes Reinforce The Status Quo

I was in the shower, thinking about how much I enjoyed KJ Charles’ Unfit to Print and its two POC leads, when I had a revelation about books I don’t enjoy so much. Why do half-Indian heroes in most historical romances continue to bother me so damn much? Not just because they don’t engage with biracial identity or transracial adoption or anything of that nature in any meaningful way, but also because they reinforce the relationship between white adjacency and white supremacy. When that hit me, I practically skidded across the tub from the force of the “duh!” The whole point of these sexy dukes and earls and generally wealthy hunks with tans is that they can move in white worlds. They “belong” in ballrooms, in clubs, in the House of Lords. It’s aspirational, inspirational. I mean, heavens, we wouldn’t want them otherwise, would we?

Friday, April 20, 2018

I'm Going Rogue!

My next release is coming up on May 8, in the fourth installment of the Rogue anthology series! This short story, "In Her Service," started knocking around in my head after I mainlined Star Trek: Discovery on CBS: All Access and fell head over heels for the very complicated pairing of Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Ash (Shazad Latif). Using that couple as a jumping off point, I started thinking about real-world politics and the government, and amazing women like Kamala Harris and Maxine Waters. And, lo, Letty and Shahzad* were born!     

*Yes, I know; I have no shame — I totally named my hero after the actor!  

Pre-order Rogue Hearts now!

AMZ | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo
From high office to the heartland, six brand-new romances about #resistance for readers who haven’t given up hope for a Happily Ever After…
In Her Service by Suleikha Snyder
U.S. Vice President Letitia Hughes has one thing that’s hers and only hers: her relationship with much younger Secret Service agent Shahzad Khan. When push comes to shove, what will take precedence: political ambitions or protecting their hearts?
Run by Emma Barry
Public defender Maddie Clark doesn’t want to be a candidate for the state senate—but she’s running. Her high school nemesis turned campaign advisor Adam Kadlick shouldn’t be back home managing campaigns—but he is. They definitely should avoid falling for each other—but they won’t.
The Rogue Files by Stacey Agdern
Reporter John DiCenza wants to go back. To New Jersey, to his life, the hockey team he covers, and the fanbase he’s proud to know and support. Back to before he had the Rogue Files, documents rumored to be the final nail in President Crosby’s term.
Journalist Sophie Katz wants to move forward. Toward her new TV show, and a life where the stories she tells will make a difference. She needs the Rogue Files and the story behind them to get there.
But when life comes at them, John and Sophie realize that the true story behind the files is standing up for the truth right where you are.
Coming Up Rosa by Kelly Maher
When her mother’s health crisis forces Rosa Donnelly back to her hometown, she crosses paths with her former crush, and town golden boy, Ian Stroman. Ian’s shine is even brighter thanks to his advocacy work to fight inhumane government policies. However, their past hurts and a current business threat may spike their chance at happiness.
The Sheriff & Mr. Devine by Amy Jo Cousins
There’s a new sheriff in Clear Lake and he has Eli Devine, the town librarian, on edge. Between arguing with the town council about inclusive library programming and keeping his three grandmas from getting into trouble, Eli has enough on his plate already. He doesn’t need the imposing Sheriff Baxter to be so very . . . distracting. Luckily for Eli, John Baxter is full of all kinds of good ideas, both for the town and for one stubborn librarian in particular.
Good Men by Tamsen Parker
Laid-back Benji Park is the keyboard player for the world’s hottest boy band, License to Game. While LtG is no stranger to charity gigs, Benji’s never been what you’d call a social justice warrior. But when smart, sexy, and ruthless immigration lawyer Jordan Kennedy comes along and asks Benji for a favor, he just may change his tune.

Monday, February 19, 2018

You're Not Reinventing the Romance Wheel

Every few years — hell, maybe it's every few months — someone tries to set themselves up as the arbiter of what romance novels have validity and deserve to be representative of the genre. Whether it's declaring historical romance dead and hailing the rise of New Adult, suggesting the New York Times review these authors and not those books for a "smarter" presentation of romance, penning pieces about the "new" heroines of "new" feminist romances, or dismissing Harlequin as outmoded and out of touch compared to independent authors...someone is always trying to reinvent the wheel to their specifications. It would be kind of funny if it weren't so divisive. Given how much gatekeeping we already have to deal with from publishers, do we really need the extra elitism and attempts at taste-making?

Romance has been blazing trails since the 1970s. We could even go all the way back to Heyer and Austen. I'm not going to go over the ground that many academics and romance historians have already tread. I'm just pointing out that none of this is new. The writing and reading of romance has always, always, been a feminist act for its time. And trends within the genre have always been cyclical. Alpha heroes and strong women who push back against them didn't just crop up five years ago. Neither did heroines in their late teens/early 20s. Neither did super-filthy, boundary-pushing love scenes. (Bertrice Small's Wild Jasmine had an f/m/f scene with anal sex. In 1992.) You're not bringing sexy back, Justin. It never left.