Erin McRae, Genre Romance, Racheline Maltese, Torquere Press

Guest Post and Excerpt: Phoenix by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae


Who hasn’t heard someone say boys don’t cry? Or seen readers debate whether they’re okay with that in their books on Goodreads or Facebook. As authors, we have this conversation too. We want to avoid stereotypes; we want our characters to reflect men that we know; and we want the story to have what it needs, too, in terms of emotional development and evolution.

While we were working on Phoenix (Love in Los Angeles, Book 3), we struggled mightily figuring out how to navigate men and grief. In the end, we decided to write the problem. Which means that when tragedy strikes in Phoenix (Love in Los Angeles, Book 3), not only do characters have to deal with the loss, they have to navigate how they perform that loss. Grief is hard and messy enough, before Paul and Alex — the main couple — have to figure out who they can act upset if front of, and to what extent.

Because boys don’t cry doesn’t, of course, mean that men do not feel emotion and sadness. It just means that dealing with grief when others — family, friends, audience members of all kinds — are watching is that much harder. Because boys do cry, and the fact that they do so does not make them any less masculine, or heroic, or anything else anyone wants them to be. Phoenix is a romance novel and has an HEA, never fear; and the characters earn their happily ever after through navigating their own emotions of grief and loss.


phoenixSometimes 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.

Buy Links: Amazon | Torquere


Excerpt: Alex’s eyes flutter shut when Paul slides his hands into his back pockets and pulls him closer. They’re not dancing so much as grinding together, but they’re hardly alone in that regard—at least they still have their shirts on, and if Alex is willing, Paul has absolutely zero desire to stop.

Paul can’t hear it, but he can feel the breath of a moan on his neck when Alex gets insistent about digging his fingers into Paul’s hair while he mouths at the skin above his collar. Six months apart, with only two weeks in the middle, was a very long time, and the time they’ve had since has barely been enough to get used to sharing space with each other again, much less fall back into their relationship with all their knowledge of each other’s bodies and hearts intact.

“This is possibly a stupid idea,” Alex murmurs at some point.

Paul isn’t sure how much time has elapsed since things crossed into slightly inappropriate but totally expected territory. “I don’t think you care.”


Author BioBio: 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

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

Erin McRae, Racheline Maltese, Torquere Press

Guest Post: Doves by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae


The Novel Approach welcomes back authors Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae to talk about their upcoming release in the Love in Los Angeles series, Doves.


Doves (Love in Los Angeles 2) isn’t a BDSM book despite the ropes on the cover. It is, however, a book about consent — in life, in love, and yes, in the bedroom. And while we all know what consent is, how people ask for it and how people give it can, and does, vary.

One of the characters in the Love in Los Angeles series has a developmental disability. That’s been true since he first appeared in our very first draft of the very first book. Readers, however, may or may not have noticed this yet because his disability hasn’t been mentioned explicitly on the page, and this character works hard to make sure no one notices anything about him that he doesn’t want them to notice.

Besides, a disability isn’t a plot point. It’s more like the weather. Sometimes you mention it’s raining, and sometimes it’s just raining. But like the weather, if you have a disability, it’s always there whether you comment on it or not. And sometimes it merits more comment than others.

In Doves, the fact that this character has a disability is a bit more obvious than it was in Starling. At times it affects how he communicates, and that, in turn, affects how he consents.

But, it doesn’t affect his ability to consent.

Despite being a writer, and a pretty verbal person in almost every way, sometimes speech is hard for me. If I’m tired or overwhelmed or anxious, the seven years I spent in speech therapy as a child elude me. My words are not clear, or I struggle to find them and place them in the right order. When this happens, instead of saying yes (or no) with my voice, I say it with my hands or my keyboard or my eyes.

When Erin and I started writing this series, we didn’t know we were going to include a developmental disability. We never said, “Hey, let’s do this.” Instead, one of us said, “So, I think this is what’s going on with this guy.” We didn’t decide he was disabled; he informed us he was.

We know that Doves is, in many ways, a dark, confronting book. On the way to their happily ever afters, our characters face a lot of obstacles, reveal horrifying moments from their personal pasts, and sometimes fail to maintain the resiliency they have come to rely on. But we hope the periodic silence of our character, who hasn’t yet chosen to explain or justify why he is the way he is to most of the people he shares a book with, won’t be part of that.

Instead, we hope that readers will see themselves, or people they love, or people they might love, and recognize there are many different ways to communicate and to receive information.


Doves CoverAbout Doves: The ties that bind…

Two years after the events of Starling, Cinderella story and star of The Fourth Estate J. Alex Cook is living happily ever after with his boyfriend, television writer Paul Marion Keane. But when Paul’s pilot, Winsome, AZ, gets picked up, the competing demands of their high-profile careers make them question their future together.

…can tear you apart

As Paul becomes increasingly absent from their relationship, Alex tries to regain control of his private life and establish a career path independent of Fourth’s enigmatic, and at times malevolent, showrunner Victor. But the delicate web of relationships that connects Alex, Paul, and their friends — including Alex’s excitable ex-lover Liam and his no-nonsense fiancée Carly — threatens to unravel.

With the business of Hollywood making it hard to remember who he is when the whole world isn’t watching, Alex is forced to confront major changes in the fairytale life he never wanted as he discovers that love in Los Angeles often looks nothing like the movies.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Torquere Press


Author BioAbout the Authors: 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)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer, Book One of the Love’s Labour series, about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press (Summer 2015). They also have a forthcoming story in Best Gay Romance 2015, 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 their Joint Blog, Joint Facebook Page, Erin’s Twitter, Racheline’s Twitter

Erin McRae, Racheline Maltese, Torquere Press

Guest Post and Giveaway: Starling by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae


When my co-writer Racheline Maltese and I started writing the first draft of Starling over a year ago, we discussed whether we should write it in past or present tense. While Starling was a first novel for both of us, we’d both written a lot, in multiple genres and styles, before we decided to write a queer romance novel about the terrible fairytale of Hollywood fame.

It was the Hollywood part of that that clinched it for us: we were writing about people whose lives — both personal and professional — were steeped in the film industry. And film scripts — for TV shows and movies — are written in the present tense. Continue reading

A.M. Arthur, Anne Tenino, Brandon Witt, Brita Addams, Chris Quinton, Erica Pike, Erin McRae, Lee Brazil, Racheline Maltese, RJ Scott, Sean Michael, Sneak Peek, Suki Fleet, Tere Michaels

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to see what we have in store for you in the coming week here at The Novel Approach.

It was a whirlwind weekend at GRL—lots of fun, lots of friends, and very little sleep—and I hope to see many of you next year in San Diego for GayRomLit 2015! A big congratulations also goes to Jilly Reads, who was the lucky winner of the Grand Prize giveaway of a Kindle Fire HD.

One of the highlights of the weekend, apart from spending time with authors and readers, was the chance to spend time with so many of my peers—Joyfully Jay, Susan Lee (Boys in our Books), Brandilyn Carpenter (Prism Book Alliance), Dani Elle Maas (Love Bytes), Heather and Nikyta from The Blogger Girls—everyone is just so lovely and so much fun. Not to mention I also got to hang out with my very own Jackie, Jules, and Kathie, which was a huge treat. And now it’s time to begin the countdown to the next GRL (it’s never too soon). Continue reading