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.
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.
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.”
Bio: 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.
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