I actually had to take stuff out of this newsletter because there was too much news, and now I feel like that kid who can barely sit still because of all the things she wants to say at once.
First though – Code of Conduct.
I love this book, even though it was hard to write. It’s the first contemporary book I’ve ever written, and that was actually really confronting. When you make mistakes in books set in the past, it’s mostly just the historians who shake their heads and tell you you’re wrong - all those dead guys aren’t going to fill your comments section with the ways you screwed up. But getting things wrong in a contemporary story, especially one set in a city I haven’t visited since I was eighteen, about people whose lives I haven’t led, that’s the kind of self-induced pressure that can cause all kinds of anxiety.
Oddly though, once I started really digging into Shane and Gabriel, “getting things right” slipped out of primary focus because I was no longer writing the characters I saw, I wrote the characters I felt. Once I knew them, they told their own stories – but isn’t it that way in life, too? When we take the time to get to know an individual, whatever story we’ve made up in our head about who we see just fades into the background behind who they are.
Now, that being said, there’s a lot of me and people I know in these characters too. And any resemblance Gabriel might have to Idris Elba is purely intentional.
Funny, it was the contemporary part of writing Code of Conduct that was so hard. Switching into a romantic suspense genre wasn’t hard at all, because that’s pretty much what I write – action, romance, suspense (history, mystery, time travel). Spoiler alert – there’s kissing in this book.
Here are the pre-order links for the Code of Conduct e-book:
I’ll have a few paperbacks with me to sell at Book Bonanza, The Ripped Bodice, and RARE London, otherwise the paperback option will go live when the book releases on October 15th. Also, if you’re a blogger or a bookstagrammer and want to sign up for the Smartypants Romance ARC, here’s the link to the Smartypants Romance Master List.
I told you a bit about Smartypants Romance in my last newsletter, but I wanted to gush a little more about it. The official version is that it’s Penny Reid’s publishing venture for authors writing in the worlds she created in her various series, and populated with a couple of her characters. My book, Code of Conduct, includes regular interactions with Quinn Sullivan (Janey’s dreamy husband from Neanderthal Seeks Human), his partner in Cipher Security, Dan “the security man” O’Malley, famous for his *ahem* expressive language, and Alex Greene, the taciturn hacker who falls in love with Sandra in Love Hacked. Sandra and Kat also have a memorable girlfriends-and-lemondrops scene with Shane that was so much fun to write.
The thing you won’t find in the official version of Smartypants Romance’s mission statement is that Penny Reid is totally committed to inclusion, representation, and diversity in the books she publishes. She’s looking for #ownvoices writers, for authors to write outside their default, and to paint the world of their books as diverse and wonderful as it really is. I love that, because it’s something I’ve been passionate about ever since I realized how very white and straight my own default was in the first draft I wrote of Marking Time, and my commitment has been to awareness and inclusion ever since.
The other thing about Penny, her characters, and the books her worlds have inspired is that they’re funny. No matter what the story or the world, these books will have chuckles, giggles, and out-loud laughter around the very real, very honest relationships between the characters.
Okay, on to the next bit of news. You may have seen by now that the audiobook for Waging War is finally available, and the one for Cheating Death is coming any day. You might also have noticed that the narrator has changed from Gemma, who was absolutely lovely, but who somehow went MIA in the last year, to Sarah, who is absolutely lovely, very professional, and very fast with her work. I had hoped to keep the narrator consistent through all five books, but I finally had to admit it was time to hire someone who could finish the series. I must say, I fell in love with both books again as I proofed the audiobooks, and I hope you do the same.
That's probably more than you wanted to know about a lot of things (which is why you get the short version of everything if you want it), but I'm a writer, so I'm not actually sorry. Next week I'll be in Grapevine, Texas at Book Bonanza, about which I'm ridiculously excited. Besides the fact that some of my favorite author friends (and authors I hope will be friends when I sidle up and casually pretend I'm not a giant fangirl of their work), and some of my favorite readers will be there, I also have the honor and pleasure of helping to produce a very special Smartypants Romance pre-release party. If you're going to Book Bonanza, come find out about how to attend the party in my Facebook reader group, Kick-Ass Heroines. If you're not going but wish you were, follow Smartypants Romance on Facebook for live videos and photos from the event, and check back here next month for my own.
Until next month, I wish you great books that make you laugh.