Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese

Please welcome Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese to the Cafe!

When I read LGBTQ+ romance, and when I write it, I’m looking for a lot of things. Those include great characters, fantastic chemistry, hot sex, and to a certain extent, a representation of my culture as a queer person.

There isn’t, of course, a singular queer culture, any more than there’s one way to write a romance, or have a relationship.  In writing the Love in Los Angeles series with Erin McRae, one of the things that became really important to us was to represent different relationship styles.

Love in Los Angeles, is as much about the process of staying in love, as it is about the process of falling in love. Paul and Alex, the couple at the heart of the story are, essentially, monogamous.  But this isn’t a default condition.  It’s something they examine and turn over in the course of their relationship for a range of different reasons.

Starling, book one of the Love in Los Angeles series, is very much about Paul and Alex falling in love and building a relationship. Book 2, Doves, is about how Paul and Alex work out how to stay in a relationship, and what they want their future together to look like. Phoenix, Book 3 in the series, is about what happens to a close-knit chosen family group. And Cardinal, Book 4, coming out later this year, is about how Alex manages his relationships — romantic, platonic, and familial — when he can no longer outrun his past.

None of the arrangements — not Carly and Liam’s, and certainly not Alex and Paul’s, assume monogamy as a default state. Liam and Carly are also no less committed to each other than Paul and Alex are, regardless of their respective relationship models. As far as they are all concerned, the most important things about relationships isn’t exclusivity, in love, sex, or anything else. Rather, it’s about making sure everyone in the relationship gets the support and the care they need, and gets the space they need to be their own individual within the relationship. And that story — the story of process, and webs of relationships, and relationships that grow and evolve over time — is the kind of story we’re interested in telling. Because chemistry isn’t about finding that one person who makes you feel like sparks are flying and your nerves are singing. It’s about finding the person — or people — with whom your life, choices, and preferences fit together — with a lot of hard work — like magic. Or science.

Because there’s not just one kind chemistry or one kind of happily ever after, and there’s not just one way to get there.

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Love in Los Angeles

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.

Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair with a polyamorous co-star and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends — and even the paparazzi! — quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.

But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.

Starling cover Doves cover Phoenix cover





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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 (2014), Doves (2015), and Phoenix (2015) — from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella series Love’s Labours, set in the theater world — Midsummer (2015), and Twelfth Night (2015), is from Dreamspinner Press. They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano.

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