Diversity in Romance

I was having a conversation with another author in which we discussed diversity in romance, and I mentioned that one of my upcoming heroines will be Mexican-American. She was shocked, and cautioned me to tread lightly because "as a privileged white woman, you have no idea what it's like to be a WOC." I get it, honestly, I do.

Except ...

From the time I was nine, I was raised by my dad and his wife, a Mexican-American woman. Every holiday, every gathering, every day, my blonde sister and I were the minority. I grew up with more insight into how a large Mexican family in Southern California functions than your "standard" white family did. All of my cousins are brown. My half-sister is brown. (Hell, she lives in Mexico, and is married to a Mexican man.)

I don't say this to claim I'm an expert. Hell, I would never claim to be an expert on anything. But ... I do have some insight and some real-life experiences that I think will make the character feel authentic. And if I ever feel like I'm missing the mark, I've always got my family to check in with. I feel good about this one. I hope you will too.

My Favorite Book(s) of 2017

Five days ago, I had my whole "Favorite Reads of 2017" all mapped out. I didn't think I could possibly read another book that was as good as the ones I'd already read.

And then something happened.

A handful of days ago, CD Reiss posted a book recommendation here on Facebook that could not be ignored. Immediately, I downloaded the sample of HOW NOT TO FALL by Emily Foster, and jumped into the story of Annie and Charles. I have spent the last eight waking hours of my life reading both HNTF, and its continuation, HOW NOT TO LET GO, and all I can tell you is these two books are easily my two favorite reads of 2017. (Just under the wire!)

I am not even exaggerating when I tell you I have been laughing and crying for hours, and that I feel wrung out and emotionally depleted, and like I want nothing more than to find my husband and hold him tight and tell him how much I love him. But it's so much more than that too. I feel hopeful, and energized, and after having a really crappy Christmas, I feel like I can put all that behind me and just appreciate everything I have in this life.

And because I'm me and I write what I write, I would be remiss if I didn't also say the sex scenes in these books are HOT. There's one in particular that I'm pretty sure I'll never forget.

The only negative thing I can think to say about this duet is that it filled me with envy and rage, because I don't know that I'll ever be able to write something as emotionally fulfilling as this story. So now I both adore Emily, and I kind of hate her too -- in the best way possible.

Do yourself a favor, and buy these books now. https://emilyfosterwrites.wordpress.com


How Not to Fall

Data, research, scientific formulae--Annabelle Coffey is completely at ease with all of them. Men, not so much. But that's all going to change after she asks Dr. Charles Douglas, the postdoctoral fellow in her lab, to have sex with her. Charles is not only beautiful, he is also adorably awkward, British, brilliant, and nice. What are the odds he'd turn her down? 

Very high, as it happens. Something to do with that whole student/teacher/ethics thing. But in a few weeks, Annie will graduate. As soon as she does, the unlikely friendship that's developing between them can turn physical--just until Annie leaves for graduate school. Yet nothing could have prepared either Annie or Charles for chemistry like this, or for what happens when a simple exercise in mutual pleasure turns into something as exhilarating and infernally complicated as love.


How Not to Let Go

Once upon a time, med student Annie Coffey set out to have a purely physical fling with Charles Douglas, a gorgeous British doctor in her lab. It didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, secrets—and desires—were bared, hearts were broken, and Annie knew she had to leave this complicated, compelling man who remains convinced he can never give her what she needs.
Walking away is one thing. Staying away is another. Annie and Charles reunite at a London conference, rekindling a friendship they struggle to protect from their intense physical connection. Little by little, Annie gets a glimpse into Charles’s dark past and his wealthy, dysfunctional family. Soon, she’s discovering what it means to have someone claim her, body and soul. And she’s learning that once in a lifetime you find a love that can make you do anything…except let go.

Injecting atmosphere into a story

I'm working on a scene in my next rugby book where an aging player leaves Dublin to play for another team to close out his career. I've spent hundreds of pages weaving together thousands of words giving readers a feel for what it's like in this city, and how the lads interact with each other so that when you open a Dublin Rugby Romance, you know what you're in for. You can picture these men and where they are.

With BREAK DOWN opening with Liam heading to Edinburgh, I've lost all that and I don't have a lot of runway with one book to build that same sense of place. To offset some of that void, I find that I'm itching to add little extras here and there that I wouldn't otherwise include. Like in a scene where he's adjusting his tie, I want to tell you that it's not just any old tie. It's a silk tie where the team's colors have been weaved together to form a special tartan that is completely unique to their location. When he develops a taste for scotch, I want to describe the smokey, briny flavors of an Islay peated whisky. When he walks through Old Town on his way to his favorite restaurant, I want to describe the way the buildings form shadows on the cobbles, and how shadows lurk in the closes.

But every time I do, I re-read the paragraph and shake my head. It all sounds TOO MUCH, like I'm throwing that all in to add extra words. But if you've ever been to Edinburgh, you know it's a city unlike any other, and that from the moment you step outside, it's like you exist on a different plane. I want people who've never been there to feel that through my words, and for those who've been and loved it, I want them to read this book and recapture those feelings.

We'll see how it all plays out. You guys know I'm a wordy bitch so I may just include it and hope my editor doesn't rip it to shreds.

Wish me luck!