I’m sad but understanding about the baseball season being postponed this year, so now seems like a good time to rerelease my baseball novella, “One Man to Remember.”
The novella takes place in the summer of 1927 in New York City. It’s part Babe Ruth-era baseball, part speakeasy, and all around a romance between a promising rookie baseball player and a stylish sports reporter.
Babe Ruth and the Yankees’ unstoppable batting lineup, Murderers’ Row, is all anyone can talk about. Across town, the Giants’ rookie infielder Skip Littlefield racks up hits, creating a streak to rival the Babe’s. Worried his secrets could get out, he avoids the spotlight, but he catches the attention of lauded sports reporter Walter Selby, a notorious dandy whose sexuality is an open secret. Skip reluctantly agrees to an interview, where sparks fly. Skip can only hope the more charismatic stars will draw attention away from his romance with Walt. Otherwise, his career in baseball—the only thing he’s ever excelled at—could all be over.
This one was originally published in the Rainbow-Award-winning Playing Ball anthology (winner of best anthology!) in 2015.
Here Comes the Flood is about a swimmer who has arrived at his fourth Olympics after quitting swimming, falling into a bottle, and then recovering—he has something to prove—and a diver who came out in a splashy way with his (now ex) actor boyfriend, and now just wants the press to leave him alone so he can focus on his sport. They meet in the Aquatics Center locker room and there are sparks… plus lots of sports and drama. You can read more about the book here.
The book hits digital shelves on April 28 and physical shelves on May 26!
I’ve had a fairly busy summer. July was nutty, and I’d been looking forward to an uneventful August. And it wasn’t even that August was eventful as such, but… I wrote a book. I spent time with my family. I did a lot of day job work. There was quite a bit of RWA board business in there, and people from out of town came to visit, and I came down with a cold that knocked me out for most of a week, and I babysat my nephew a lot.
I’m never really idle, is my point. And things have been a little stressful the last few weeks… months, really. And I’m really terrible at not working. During the week I was sick, I kept telling myself that what I should do is build a blanket fort around my sofa and stream one of the 47 TV shows I’ve been meaning to check out, and what did I do? When I was actually awake, I mostly did day job stuff and/or tried to work on the book I have due later this fall. (What is wrong with me?)
But! I have a vacation coming up. Ten whole days out of town. I’ve been counting down the days like it’s the end of the school year.
This is all to say that I’ve been bad about updating this space, but I hope people hang on a little longer because I’ve got a lot of stuff coming soon!
I just finished a draft of the first Whitman Street book. It’s a contemporary romance: m/f enemies to lovers, featuring a grouchy veterinarian and the manager of the cat cafe next door. (That’s the book I wrote in August.) And I just got first edits on my second Elite Athletes book… that’s the series coming out next year about Olympic athletes. More about what I’ve got coming up can be found here.
I’m still hoping to get Save the Date, one of my older novellas, reissued soon. The book has been expanded and re-edited, and it has a new cover that still needs a couple of small tweaks, but my goal is to set up a pre-order for that in the near future and have the book out again later this fall. (Save the Date is a rom com about a guy who needs a date to his ex’s wedding.)
So that’s the news that’s fit to print. Stay tuned!
I am now on the national board, so I will be checking into the Marriott on Saturday and spending the week there. I’m not mad I’ll be checking into an air-conditioned hotel in the middle of a heat wave.
Anyway, if you’re attending the conference, here are some of the places I will be:
8:30am: I’m teaching my Better, Faster, Stronger First Drafts workshop. 3:00pm: Sourcebooks Signing. My first book with Sourcebooks won’t be out until 2020, but I’ll bring some swag and will be signing prints that each attendee will receive.
11:00am: Kensington Signing (I’ll have copies of Such a Dance) 2:30pm: Carina Signing (I’ll have copies of See the Light)
3:00pm: Literacy Signing! (Locals, this is open to the public! I… have forgotten which books I requested, so it will be a fun surprise. Probably my Dreamspinner titles, I think Out in the Field and The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom.)
I will also be running around like a crazy person. I’ll be that colorful blur you see running by you for most of the conference, I’m guessing. (On top of the above, I’m doing an AMA in the PAN lounge, I plan to attend the RITAs, and I have a handful of Board obligations.)
In honor of June being not only Pride Month, but also the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, I thought it might be fun to put together a list of recommended reads. Not romance, though; books you should read to celebrate the long history of LGBTQ people, which is fascinating an surprising.
So bone up on your history for this Pride!
Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century by Graham Robb
Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality by Jonathan Ned Katz
When Brooklyn Was Queer by Hugh Ryan
Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York by Donald Albrecht and Stephen Vider (companion to the exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York)
Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day by Peter Ackroyd
I also recently started reading We Are Everywhere by Matthew Reimer and Leighton Brown, the team behind the @lgbt_history account on Instagram, and it’s a wealth of interesting photos, definitely worth a look.
This list is a little male-centric and is composed only of books I’ve actually read; I’m sure there are many other great history books that I would love for you to recommend in the comments!
PS: I wrote some historical gay romances!
In Such a Dance, vaudeville dancer Eddie gets involved with bootlegger Lane in Jazz Age Times Square.
In Ten Days in August, homicide detective Hank meets female impersonator Nicky while investigating a mysterious death at a dance hall.
The big news hit social media on Monday that I’m writing a m/f contemporary romance series that centers around a cat cafe for Sourcebooks. And despite Monday being April Fool’s Day, I promise this is not a joke!
Whitman Street is a fictional street I created that is in Brooklyn, kind of in the Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill area (like the western end of Atlantic Avenue, basically). A lot of you are probably like, “Where?” but the major takeaway is that I’m writing a series that is very neighborhood-centric, so it’s like a small-town romance, just set in Brooklyn.
If you’re playing at home, you might be like, “Kate, you seem to have a lot of books coming out.” And you would be right!
So, it’s very unlikely I will have any other new books coming out in 2019, because I have so many books coming out in 2020 and 2021 and I still have to write a lot of them. The schedule is roughly this:
This summer: I’ll be reissuing Save the Date, which was a novella originally published by Loose Id that has been out of print for about a year. Save the Date is a romantic comedy about a guy who needs a date for his ex’s wedding. I’ve expanded it about 10,000 words. (Cover art and a fresh edit are still pending.)
Spring/Summer 2020: The Elite Athletes Series. This is a m/m sports romance series set at the Olympics.
Fall 2020 and into 2021: The Whitman Street series. (I don’t have firm pub dates on those.)
Spring/Summer 2021: The Restoration Series, which is a m/m trilogy about people who are on home renovation shows on a TV cable network (that is not HGTV).
I have myself on a pretty tight schedule to get all these books written on time, but I’m VERY excited about all of it.
I thought it would be fun to write some pop-culture-related stories for ye olde blogge, so I’m starting a blog column called Pop-Up, in which I wax long on various pop culture topics. This will probably be a sporadic feature, although I’ve already got a second topic idea, so we’ll see! For my first column, I’m going to talk about nostalgia for the teen lit of my youth!
A lot of romance writers will tell you the same story: they discovered romance because their mother/aunt/babysitter/etc. was a big romance reader.
That is not true for me. My mother reads a lot of heavy nonfiction. My female relatives read mostly of sci fi and literary fiction, if they read much at all. I have a degree in English literature, and wrote an interdisciplinary thesis about nonconformist women and intersectional feminism in literature. Where did my great love of romance novels come from?
I think I have the answer now!
When I was 11, back in the distant, pre-Internet time of 1991, I talked my mom, who worked full time, into letting me go to my town’s public library instead of the dread after school program after school. And there, I—and often some of my friends—did homework and also read. A lot. My friend Chris and I went to the children’s section after school every day for a few months, and when we finished our homework, we read through basically every YA novel the library had at the time. This was more or less limited to novels by Judy Blume and Loises Duncan and Lowry, some ancient Nancy Drew Mysteries, a whole lot of R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike thrillers, and a rotating rack of Sweet Valley High.
I mention all this to say that I was the prime age to be reading the books described in Gabrielle Moss’s delightful book Paperback Crush, which I finished reading this week. The book is part nostalgia and part criticism—YA from this era had a lot of affluent white girls—but what was interesting to me was that I finally made the connection between the teen romances I was reading in middle school and my love of romance novels. Like, I can draw a straight line from Sweet Valley High to Harlequin Presents.
I don’t remember a lot of the plots anymore, but I remember getting caught up in the antics of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield when I was in sixth grade. (I was a Type A even back then, so I identified with the studious Elizabeth.) (I always identify with the Type As. Rachel on Glee, Amy on Brooklyn Nine Nine, Chidi on The Good Place, and so on. I keep a Leslie Knope Funko Pop on my desk because she is my patron saint.) And I remember the Jungle Prom and the Fiat and the over-the-top drama. It’s like a junior version of a category romance in terms of tropes and soap opera antics. And I think I loved those books at the time because sunny California felt pretty much as far from my home in suburban New Jersey as you could get. (By the way, I recently started listening to the Double Love podcast, in which two Irish ladies discuss each SVH book. It’s really fun. I recommend!)
I started reading romance again in my mid-twenties, and it started with a friend handing me a Nora Roberts novel, which I read in one sitting on a bus trip. It reminded me how reading doesn’t have to be an intellectual exercise every time, it could just be a few hours of fun escapism. Which is not that romances novels can’t be intellectual or challenging or great literature, because they definitely can be, but they can also just be engaging, enjoyable, escapist books, too. I finished that book and thought, “I forgot reading can be this much fun.” And then I went out and found more romance. The rest is history!
I mean, I read a lot of Danielle Steel as a teenager. One of my library friends and I used to take books from the massive Wall of Harlequins my hometown library had (several full bookcases of just category romances) and read the sexy bits aloud to each other. Another friend and I wrote our own SVH-esque teen romance series when we were 12 or 13. (Each book was, like, 10 pages, written long-hand on loose leaf paper. These were not sophisticated stories.) And I’ve always liked stories in which people fall in love. (I’m totally that person who sits on the couch and shouts “Kiss! Kiss!” at my TV when characters have tense romantic moments on TV.)
So then the very first novel I ever write a complete draft of was a teen romance novel based loosely on the character dynamics in a lot of the Christopher Pike books I’d read. I was seventeen when I wrote it. (The plot was basically that eight friends go on vacation together right after they graduate from high school and some of the pair up romantically and there’s a LOT of drama. Nobody was a victim of a grisly murder or anything, although I think I gave one of the characters cancer.)
Anyway, this is all to say that Paperback Crush is a really fun book that made me all kinds of nostalgic, and I heartily recommend it if you are of a certain age (namely pushing 40 and thinking a lot about the books of your formative years).
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I have a fun gift for you, which is that, at long last, my very first novel IN HOT PURSUIT is back in print!
Here’s the blurb:
It’s been a rough eighteen months since NYPD cop Noah Tobin’s secret boyfriend was murdered. Noah has been burying himself in work to forget, which is why his boss orders him to take a two-week vacation. This is how Noah ends up, reluctantly, at a resort and spa in Tampa for some rest and relaxation. On his first night in sunny Florida, a chance encounter with a handsome man at a bar piques Noah’s interest. Then the man disappears.
Noah’s vacation is turned upside down because he can’t let it go when he learns that the man he met was wealthy restaurateur Harrison Knox, and that he’s missing. Noah reports what he knows to the local police and offers to help. When Harrison Knox turns up, beaten with an inch of his life, Noah knows he should walk away but he can’t; the men after Harry have deep ties to organized crime in Florida, for one thing, but more than that, he can’t seem to let Harry go…
See the Light is out today! Download, read, tell your friends!
Up-and-coming Broadway actor Jeremy was given two days to get up and get out. Dumped by his long-term boyfriend and suddenly homeless, he needs a sofa and a sympathetic ear, stat.
Enter Max, aspiring makeup artist and Jeremy’s BFF and former roommate.
Max has been in love with his best friend forever. Now that Jeremy is back in his home, his old feelings are back, too. He’s happy to help his friend, but this time…it’s complicated.
When Jeremy gets his big break in a new show, the message of the play hits home. “Live life to the fullest” means recognizing how he really feels about Max, and that’s not complicated at all. Jeremy’s in love, and wants to move full steam ahead.
But Max has waited too long for Jeremy to look at him this way, and he doesn’t want to risk his heart. If this is just a rebound fling, or if Jeremy is only interested in Max because he’s convenient, it will not only shatter him—it will ruin the best friendship he’s ever known.