rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
( Oct. 21st, 2017 05:18 pm)
I had tons of fun with FemslashEx, and highly recommend browsing the archive.

My recipient was [personal profile] iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:

Female Revolutionary/Princess

Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.

Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.

I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...
In honor of the upcoming release of Rebel (Book 3).

Ask me anything about the series, the characters, the world, etc. Sherwood will be popping in too!

This post allows spoilers for both Stranger and Hostage.

Ask questions here in this post!
In honor of the upcoming release of Rebel (Book 3).

Ask me anything about the series, the characters, the world, etc. Sherwood will be popping in too!

This post allows spoilers for Stranger but not Hostage. There is a spoilery post which allows spoilers for both books that are out now.

Ask questions here in this post!
Welcome back to Las Anclas, a frontier town in the post-apocalyptic Wild West. In this perilous landscape, a schoolboy can create earthquakes, poisonous cloud vipers flock in the desert skies, and the beaches are stalked by giant mind-controlling lobsters.

The tyrant king Voske has been defeated, but all is not peaceful in Las Anclas. Ross's past comes back to haunt him, Jennie struggles with her new career, Mia faces her fears, Felicite resorts to desperate measures to keep her secrets, Kerry wonders if Las Anclas has really seen the last of her father, and shy Becky Callahan may hold the key to a dangerous mystery.

In Rebel, long-held secrets of past and present are revealed, family ties can strangle as well as sustain, and the greatest peril threatening Las Anclas comes from inside its walls.

Rebel (The Change # 3)

If you would like to review it, let me know and I'll send you an advance review copy (ebook only).

The LJ version has the cover image.
rachelmanija: Fucking new guy hates my favorite rabbit book (FNG Hates My Rabbit Book)
( Jan. 16th, 2017 12:38 pm)
I participated in the [community profile] fandom_stocking gift exchange, and got a slew of lovely gifts, from icons to book reviews to links to beautiful things. Thank you again to everyone who gave me things! If any of that sounds nice, go check out the comments to my stocking and enjoy the pretty and the recs.

I also wrote two gift stories.

For Nenya Kanadka, I wrote a 2000 word original FF short story, The Pirate's Blessing. A space pirate seeks a very special blessing from the Goddess, and a priestess gets an unexpected blessing of her own. It is tagged
Space Pirates, Ritual Sex, and Holy Space Aikido, which should give you an idea of the tone. I hope it's as much fun to read as it was to write.

For Monanotlisa, I wrote a 400 word short based on Sarah Waters' Victorian lesbian Gothic Fingersmith. It's post-book and so spoilery, and I'm not sure if it makes sense if you haven't read the book, but if you have a thing for hands and gloves, and I know I do, you might like it anyway. Every now and then something just comes to me in a flash, whole, and this was one of them. It's also FF, but a totally different tone. First Page.
Sherwood and I posted on disability in the Change series at Diversity in YA.

Everything I write stems from personal experience, even if it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where people have mutant powers and the trees can eat you.
TA-DA! Mated to the Meerkat

Meerkat Final large

Curvy reporter Jasmine Jones is thrilled when she’s hired to investigate the charismatic but sinister lawyer campaigning for mayor of Los Angeles. It could make her career, but there’s a catch. She has to partner with Chance Marcotte, the annoying (and annoyingly hot) paparazzi with a history of popping up unexpectedly and ruining her scoops.

But when they’re supposed to meet for a stakeout, Chance never shows up. Instead, an adorable, injured meerkat scurries out of the bushes and collapses at her feet. A sucker for cute little animals, Jasmine takes him home to tend his wounds. The next morning, she gets the surprise of a lifetime when she awakens to find an unclothed and bandaged Chance.

Can an ambitious reporter and a curious meerkat shifter stop bickering for long enough to defeat a law firm of evil cobra shifters, get the scoop, find their happily ever after, and have lots of hot sex? (Spoiler: the hot sex is a definite yes.)

A screwball comedy novelette by the author of the "Werewolf Marines" series.

This story is exactly as serious as it looks. I had lots of fun writing it. I hope, if you read it, that it brightens your day. Email me if you'd like an epub.
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Partner is finished, polished, proofread, and DONE. It has been turned in for formatting, and will be published once that's complete.

Prisoner is currently free at all e-book vendors. Hopefully that will lure in some readers.

If you enjoyed the banter and hurt-comfort in Prisoner, there's lots more in Partner.
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rachelmanija: (Books: old)
( Jan. 9th, 2015 09:48 am)
In case anyone would like to nominate my work for anything, here's what I published in 2014:

Stranger, by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. (Viking, November 13, 2014.)

Prisoner, by Lia Silver. (Melusine Press, June 30, 2014.)

Laura's Wolf, by Lia Silver. (Melusine Press, March 5, 2014.)
And as if to celebrate our collaboration, Stranger has been nominated for YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults. The final list will be announced in February.

The way Sherwood and I collaborate is that we first sit down and discuss the plot of the entire story, taking notes. Before we write a chapter, we discuss what will happen in more detail. Then we sit side by side at a computer and write the chapter. Usually Sherwood types, with either of us or both of us actually writing. (I would be dictating.) The result is a book where any given sentence was probably written by both of us together. When we have a first draft, we pass it back and forth for rewrites and polishes and additions.

Sherwood thinks on a much larger scale than I do, in every way. I tend toward intimate scenes with a few people, shorter lengths, and less lavish description. She goes for epics, LONG epics, and more description. Our work together tends to split the difference: medium length, medium description, a large world but we only see a small part of it.

We think differently about worldbuilding. Sherwood creates entire worlds from scratch, with economies, ecologies, and cultures. I tend to start with our world, make a few changes, and extrapolate from there. The werewolf Marines books are typical of my general tendencies in that direction. I didn’t create a new ecology or economy, because werewolves exist secretly within our own ecologies and economies, but instead focused on how werewolf culture might have evolved alongside all the other real cultures, and the details of how their powers work. How might pack dynamics (actual wolf behavior, not the alpha male bullshit) translate into human culture, is there a limit to how much transforms with them when they shapeshift, do they have origin myths, etc.

Sherwood tends to start with an image. I tend to start with “What would be the most interesting/dramatic path that follows logically from what we’ve already got?”

The best part of collaborating is that it’s impossible to get writer’s block. If I go blank, Sherwood will provide something, or vice versa. It’s also just fun – a bit like playing a role-playing game. We’re different enough to keep things interesting, but similar enough to have infinite fun inventing creatures, mutant powers, difficult situations for our characters, etc.

The worst part is that we’re both absent-minded and not very computer-adept, so we have repeatedly lost files, accidentally copied old versions on top of new versions, etc. It can also be hard to find the time for both of us to get together.

I’ve tried collaborating with a number of people. It doesn’t always work – sometimes our prose styles don’t mesh, or our working styles are incompatible, or we argue in a way that isn’t fruitful, or we have wildly differing visions, or we plain don’t get along.

When I saw the movie Pacific Rim, where giant robots can only be operated by a pair of pilots who are capable of working so smoothly together that they can make one mecha move as if operated by a single person, I thought, “Sherwood and I are Drift-compatible.” Call us if a giant monster appears and you need pilots.
Hostage, the sequel to Stranger, is out now. The e-book is $4.99; the paper book will be released in a few months.

Sherwood has put up a detailed post about why we chose to self-publish Hostage. It’s well-worth reading in full, but the short version is that we finished Hostage a year ago. If we stayed with Viking, it would be two more years before it would be released. (Stranger also took three years to come out, counting from when Sharyn November first told us she wanted it; two and a half years if you count from when we actually got our contract.) We decided that being able to control the price and release dates of the series was more important to us than the prestige and resources of a traditional publishing house.

Feel free to discuss here or there; feel free to publicize and link anywhere.

I welcome comments on your own publishing experiences. I ask only that you refrain from put-downs of individuals or general statements that anything is evil. Amazon included. Criticize all you want, just don’t say stuff like “Amazon is trying to enslave us all, like STALINIST RUSSIA!!!” or “You’re just self-publishing because no one wants your politically correct tripe!!!” or any other statement that naturally lends itself to three exclamation points.

Hostage at Book View Cafe (the writer’s collective). Hostage (The Change) at Amazon. At Barnes and Noble At Apple. At Kobo
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Nov. 13th, 2014 08:06 am)
The post-apocalyptic novel Sherwood Smith and I wrote, Stranger, is finally out! It's the "Yes Gay YA" book. But you could just as easily call it "The one with the telekinetic squirrels," or "The X-Men in the post-apocalyptic Wild West," or "The one where the sheriff is super-strong, the doctor can speed up time, and the plant life is out to get you."

Kirkus gave it a starred review, calling it " afirst-rate page turner that leaves its own compelling afterimage."

Other points of possible interest: Psychic powers. Luscious food descriptions. Detailed world-building. Hurt-comfort- lots of hurt-comfort. Thrilling battle sequences. Cute animals. Killer crystal trees. Romance in every configuration: gay, straight, lesbian, and poly. Illusion-casting rabbits. Flying cats. And, of course, telekinetic squirrels.

It had a publicity budget of literally $0, so anything you feel like doing to spread the word would be great.

On Kindle: Stranger

Barnes and Noble.

Kobo.

Apple.

Goodreads.
Last year I wrote two full-length novels under a pseudonym. If you haven’t come across them already, you can read them now. You can read them in either order.

Laura's Wolf (Werewolf Marines). Werewolf Marine Roy Farrell meets reformed con artist Laura Kaplan in Yosemite. Features a snowed-in cabin in the woods, banter, domesticity, PTSD, gun fights, werewolf fights, “let’s get you out of those wet clothes,” light femdom, trauma and healing, out-of-control superpowers, the heroine rescuing the hero, and a pack of traumatized psychic werewolves held hostage by a criminal mastermind.

Prisoner (Werewolf Marines). Werewolf Marine DJ Torres meets genetically engineered assassin Echo in a secret underground laboratory. Features banter, romantic comedy, desperate treks through the desert, martial arts fights, gun fights, werewolf fights, psychic powers, clones, dyslexia, bonding in a bar on the Las Vegas Strip, a dysfunctional werewolf pack, and discussions of Norwegian death metal and Filipino hip hop. (DJ is, in fact, also a DJ.)

Laura’s Wolf is complete on its own, but I will eventually write sequels. Prisoner is the first of a three-book series. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but they are not eaten by the shrieking eels at this time don't get out from under the thumb of the evil lab in this book.

Laura’s Wolf has more genre romance conventions (with substantial twists); the hero and heroine are sexually attracted on their first meeting and bond quickly. It has somewhat unconventional gender roles. Prisoner has fewer romance conventions and subverts the ones that it does have more, and features a friends-to-lovers romance. It has very unconventional gender roles. Laura’s Wolf sold better, but Prisoner attracted more attention in the romance blogosphere.

In case you’re wondering, I have been paying my rent with these books. Which is to say, I didn't make tons of money, but I did make as much or more than if I'd traditionally published. Both of them are way too unconventional, structurally and in terms of content, to sell to any but a small press, so it made sense to self-publish. And the series got two Yuletide nominations, so that makes it all worthwhile.

I wrote them under a pen name because I wanted to write without baggage, emotional and otherwise. Consequently, they are written completely from the heart. Complete with earnest afterwords about PTSD and dyslexia. (They’re self-published, I can put in earnest afterwords if I want to.) Also, I did not want precocious ten-year-old readers of Stranger (or their parents) to type my real name into Amazon and find books with explicit sex.

I wasn’t sure until somewhat recently whether I would ever publicly reveal my real identity. This was unexpectedly freeing. I normally am not capable of writing two full-length novels in a year, while I’m working and in grad school! But I decided to go ahead and reveal so any of you who might enjoy them can find them, given that you otherwise might never read that sort of thing.

Laura’s Wolf is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, ARE, and in print. Prisoner is currently only available on Amazon and in print. If you’d like a copy in any other format, you can purchase it directly from me by either emailing me at Rphoenix2 at gmail or by commenting here with your email address and your preferred format.
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I wrote a lesbian erotic romance novelette for an anthology to benefit international LGBTQ human rights under a pen name, Rebecca Tregaron. Please consider buying it - it's only 99 cents for now, and we're hoping to bounce it on to the bestseller list before raising the price.

Her Private Passion: More Tales of Pleasure and Domination

Five smoldering tales of women’s passion for women. Five best-selling authors bring you their hottest lesbian historical stories of desires that cannot be denied.

From elegant aristocrats, cross-dressing soldiers, and sultry sirens, to naughty nuns, seductive spies, and innocent young ladies, some women must dominate... and some women must submit.

“Bound in Silk and Steel,” by Rebecca Tregaron. The lovely courtesan-spy Perrine travels to Serenissima to seduce and ensnare the noblewoman Fiorenza. But in the sensual abandon of Carnival, power can shift in the blink of an eye, the turn of a mask, the flick of a rope…

"Convent Discipline," by Honey Dover. Alessandra isn't looking forward to becoming a nun, but in strict medieval Italy, her family has given her no other option. When her training as a novice is taken over by the lovely Julia, Alessandra learns that submission can mean much more than prayer.

"Found," by Victoria Janssen. In the midst of the American Civil War, Clodia flees slavery and certain death. Found by her escaped friend Diana, who is serving as a man in the Union army, Clodia fears she can't be forgiven for the past.

"Spanked On The Prairie," by Isla Sinclair. When Emily Welland misbehaves on the Canadian prairie, she is due for a spanking from firm but beautiful Miss Grant. But little does she know the sensual lesbian delights in store for her.

“The Ocean's Maid,” by Mona Midnight. All Sarah wanted was to find her sister, lost to the mermaids more than a year ago. But in the world of the sirens, she finds welcoming arms... and the promise of the forbidden pleasures she has denied herself for so many years. Will she return to the surface? Or will she succumb to the temptations of life under the sea?

The companion volume of gay historical stories, His Prize Possession: Tales of Pleasure and Domination, is also available.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
( Jul. 2nd, 2014 09:39 am)
I won't be posting these regularly, but hey, it's our first.

School Library Journal

BROWN, Rachel Manija & Sherwood Smith. Stranger. 432p. Viking. Nov. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670014804; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781101615393.

Gr 7 Up–Intrigue, feuds, hypocrisy, and a love triangle fill the pages of this dystopian tale narrated by a diverse cast of characters in alternating chapters. After a solar flare, all electronic devices are useless. A mysterious, wounded stranger wanders into Las Anclas (formerly Los Angeles) with a secret; Ross has narrowly escaped the diabolical ruler Voske, who desires a rare book that Ross possesses. Mia’s family shelters Ross as he heals and receives warrior training from 16-year-old Jennie, Mia’s best friend and the town’s teacher. Both teens are attracted to the newcomer, and he can’t decide between them. As the town slowly warms to Ross, likewise his barriers slip away as he enjoys life in Las Anclas. Authors Brown and Smith create a village in which flora and fauna exhibit flesh-eating powers and symbiotic relationships with select people. Some humans remain “Norms” while others are “Changed,” and therein lies the only prejudice; no one looks askance at homosexuality and all races are appreciated. Some elements appear contrived and slightly pedantic: there is exactly one gay couple and one lesbian couple; [GIANT SPOILER REDACTED]; and the Norms and Changed unite in an epic battle against Voske. Despite these conventional components, Stranger is a fresh story with well-developed characters, fast-paced action, a fantastical world, and a hint of romance.–Laura Falli, McNeil High School, Austin, TX

I have to note for the record that 1) "love triangle" and "he can't decide between them" is very misleading, 2) there are actually two lesbian couples and additional non-coupled gay characters, 3) Jennie is 18, 4) classism not only exists but is a pretty major factor in the book, 5) there is only one symbiotic person/non-human relationship in the book, and it's otherwise unknown, and 6) "Norms and Changed unite" is kind of like saying, "American blacks and whites unite to pay taxes every year," ie, there was never any question of them not doing so.

But hey! She generally liked it!

Please suggest any major review blogs that might like a review copy. It's already at Booksmugglers.
Deborah Ross solicited me to write a story for a new Darkover anthology a while back, and was very understanding about extending the deadline when I had a grad school-related crisis. Thank you, Deborah!

The anthology is out now. My story is a novelette (10K) about a genetically engineered sex slave and an emmasca (intersex person). It features food porn, hurt-comfort, psychic powers, and wilderness survival (typical Rachel tropes), and an asshole father (mandatory Darkover trope.) Also rabbithorns. I assume those are rabbits with horns.

Here's me describing my story in slightly more detail.

The anthology also features Janni Simner, Judith Tarr, Kari Sperring, and other excellent authors. If you like Darkover, you will probably like it.

Stars of Darkover (Darkover anthology Book 14)
If you were to pre-order the hardcover and then get pregnant, it and the baby would arrive at about the same time. Check out the gorgeous cover, if you haven't already!
I have a story in an upcoming Darkover anthology, Stars of Darkover! I was so excited to be invited to write for it. I'm also excited to read everyone else's stories.

My story, "The Fountain's Choice," is set in the Stormqueen! era, when there was lots of genetic engineering and decadence. It's about an emmasca and a riyachiya (an intersex person and a genetically engineered sex slave, neither of them entirely human), and I had a lot of fun writing it. It was a bit of a Yuletide-esque experience, complete with firing off multiple peculiar canon questions to an expert (in this case, Deborah, the editor), like "Exactly how long would it take to walk from x location to y location?" and "Is it obvious from birth that a baby is an emmasca?"
.

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