Archive for October, 2012

five things: GRL recap edition

A lot of people have written up their GayRomLit experiences, and I meant to do a recap post earlier this week but have been super busy. I also took exactly zero photos. Those of you who weren’t there might have GayRomLit fatigue if you spend enough time in Gay Romance Bloglandia, but I will say, if you have even a tiny bit of a desire to go, GO. It’s totally worth it. This year was bigger than last and a ton of fun. I figured for my Friday post, I’d pick five highlights from my trip:

1. The People. I got to hang out with people I haven’t seen since last GRL, people I have interacted with online but never met in person before, and people who were brand new to me, and all of it was awesome. The fabulous thing about this event is that everyone is so warm and friendly and welcoming and, well, uninhibited. It’s a place where you can come as you are and we accept you. It’s such a great atmosphere. (The list of people I got to hang out with is too big and I would inevitably leave someone out by mistake, but I really enjoyed talking to everyone.)

2. The Food. Oh, my goodness, green chiles, where have you been all my life? I ate so much good food. Secret thing about NYC: it’s hard to get good Mexican or Tex Mex food here. There’s a hole-in-the-wall near my apartment with really authentic Mexican food, but otherwise, it’s all crappy, flavorless tacos. In New Mexico, however, they put green chiles and guacamole on pretty much everything and I was delighted by all of it.

3. The Parties. It is not a secret that I love karaoke, and I spent most of Friday trying to cajole people into singing at that night’s Karaoke Party. Of course, then I got socked by the extreme fatigue soon after dinner (enchiladas and a huge margarita at a place in Old Town Albuquerque, natch) and then felt like I HAD to go to the party to show everyone up. I had no alcohol at that party because it would have just put me in a coma, although alcohol is a key ingredient of karaoke, but then Heidi Cullinan agreed to sing a Fleetwood Mac song with me because her husband is a big Fleetwood Mac fan. So, making a fool of myself… check. (I also danced up a storm at the Gentleman’s Juke Joint party. I told Damon Suede that next year should involve MOAR DANCING.)

4. The Hotel. The Hard Rock was a pretty great venue. My room was nice. The bathtub in my room was divine. I actually fell asleep in that tub Saturday night while I was soaking my poor, tired body. The staff there was also really nice and accommodating—I was the jerkface who made the wait staff track down soy milk for my coffee—and I totally saw a number of staff members browsing the swag room. And how great was the swag room? It was handy to just take what you wanted; I managed to keep my take-home bag of swag on the small side.

I’m sorry for running out of postcards, though! I had no idea those would go so fast. (I was out by about midday on Thursday.) Note to self: next year, MOAR POSTCARDS.

I am psyched that so many people took swag and bought books. My suitcase was 15 pounds lighter on the way home!

5. The Connections. The goal of a convention for authors is connecting with readers and networking with other authors/editors/publisher/etc. Mission accomplished. I didn’t get to talk to everyone I wanted to—I somehow completely missed the opportunity to fangirl on Abigail Roux, who I never actually saw even though there is photographic evidence that she was there, and then I only actually met Eric Arvin in the security line at the airport on the way home—but I did get to talk to A LOT of people. A number of important things are now in the works because of the convention, but nothing’s really set in stone yet so I’m reluctant to talk about it.

Although, Shae darling, I am totally down for that baseball anthology. Let’s do it for real!

Adjusting to being back has been harder than expected, even with taking Monday off work to recuperate. I stumbled back into great piles of work and I’m still catching up. But I regret nothing.

So that’s a brief glimpse of my GayRomLit experience. I’m looking forward to Atlanta already!

Scrambling Winner

A copy of Scrambling is going to…

*drumroll*

Danielle!

And the 2009 World Series champion Yankees are here to help you celebrate!

(What, I’m not bitter that the Yankees played like crap in the post season and were handily eliminated while I was in Albuquerque. Nope, not at all.)

Anyway, congrats Danielle! I believe Ms. Valentine will be contacting you about the book.

Character Fears: A Guest Post by Lex Valentine

Sports Week continues! Today, I’m happy to host Lex Valentine, who I also just met at GRL. She’s got a new book out that tackles football. (Tackles, geddit?) Read on to learn how to enter to win a copy of her new book!

What is an author to do when presented with characters who cling to their childhood fears? What do we do when they don’t react as adults? Well, you write a book about characters who let fear rule their lives until they finally grow up, grow a pair, and get down to the business of love.

In my novel Scrambling, my two main characters both fear the same thing, losing their best friend. They will sacrifice anything for that relationship because it means everything to them. What they end up sacrificing is the truth and the chance to be together. You see, they are in love with each other and afraid to say so. They fear that they will lose the one relationship they have come to rely on…their friendship.

So how did a book about the first two out players in the NFL end up being a tale of fear? My characters. They wouldn’t get it together. They stayed locked in their fears, afraid of being alone, afraid of losing a relationship that defined their lives. Each man deliberately gives up the chance to be with the man he loves in order to preserve a friendship he can’t live without. Childish? Yes. Stubborn? Yes. Irrational? Sure. But love isn’t always rational and characters can often do and think stupid things.

Scrambling shows how the PR director of an NFL team spins the coming out of two newly drafted players into a positive thing for the team. My heroes walk the red carpet at every LGBT event she can send them to. They become poster boys for being out. As professional athletes who are also gay, they become trailblazers in an industry that has closet doors firmly shut. And while I originally envisioned this story being about the prejudices that these men have to overcome, once the writing began to flow, it quickly became a story about how even men who are out have things that they still hide in the closet.

Thanks to Kate for having me here today. If you leave a comment here, I’ll put your name in a drawing to win a copy of Scrambling. I’ll draw a name Thursday night at midnight Pacific time.

Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from Scrambling.

Scrambling

BUY LINKS

Loose Id

Amazon

Book Trailer

Blurb:

Evan McAdam has two constants in his life–football and his friendship with Reed Matthews. From the age of six, Evan’s played football alongside Reed. In his teens, he realized he was gay and loved Reed, but fear kept him from confiding his deepest emotions to his best friend.

When he and Reed are drafted to the L.A. Stars, Evan decides to come out. His decision impacts Reed who’s been in the closet too. The two men struggle with secrets of unrequited love while facing the world as the first two openly gay NFL players.

When injury forces Evan to retire, the love he bears Reed can no longer be hidden. But will Reed be able to reciprocate, or will Evan lose both football and the man he’s always loved?

Excerpt Under the Cut:

Read the rest of this entry »

My Love of Baseball: A Guest Post by Kerry Freeman

Kerry and I were in the same reading session at GayRomLit, so we had a little baseball extravaganza going there. Kerry contacted me about doing a baseball-related guest post a while back, and I was like, “Of course!” I am all about promoting sports romances. So, without further ado, here’s Kerry. — Kate

I vaguely remember watching baseball as a child. My brother loved sports of all kinds, and I watched a few games here and there with no deep interest or allegiance to any one team.

But in 1998, things changed. I began to watch the Home Run Race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as a news event. Soon, though, I started watching the actual games. And I liked them.

To me, baseball was more a scientific sport, all curves and trajectories. Games weren’t won by knocking the other guy on his ass. Actually, hitting an opposing player would get someone thrown out of the game. There was talk of the sweet spot and averages… and I was a goner.

Once I fell in love with the game, picking a favorite team was a no-brainer: the Atlanta Braves all the way, baby. And when a cute little second baseman I noticed during the Home Run Race went to play for them in 1999, I was even more devoted.

Come on, I am not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t notice the boys in their tight little pants. *swoon* Sure, I love the game, but I can definitely appreciate the scenery.

That year, the Braves went to the World Series against the hated New York Yankees (okay, maybe it’s just me that hates them). I managed to get tickets to the first game, which was played at Turner Field in Atlanta, and, even though I was in the nosebleed section and the Braves lost, I will never forget the wonder of that game.

In my new book Pine Tar & Sweet Tea, both Matt and René are former professional baseball players turned high school coaches. They both were closeted during their playing days, but only Matt has remained in the closet now that he’s a coach. They both love the game, and their lives are dedicated to the young men they lead.

To date, there has not been an active Major League baseball player come out publicly, although there have been players who have come out after retirement. While one hopes things are changing for gay players, there are still examples of overt homophobia by players, most recently a player suspended for having a homophobic slur written on his eye black.

It’s only a matter of time before an active player comes out. The 2012 Summer Olympics saw numerous out athletes competed, and recently an active featherweight boxer came out. NFL players routinely speak in favor of marriage equality. Hopefully soon the environment will be such that any athlete in any sport will feel free to be who they are.

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Thank you Kate for having me on your blog! And everyone, please visit the tour kickoff post to enter the super-duper tour giveaway.

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About Kerry:

Kerry was born and raised in Alabama, and she grew up swearing she was going to get the hell out of Dodge the instant she could. Turns out Dodge ain’t so bad, and she never left. Alabama’s version of a city girl, she married a country boy, and the adorkable couple lives in a small town with their two socially awkward dogs.

Kerry loves to write about love, and it turns out most of the voices in her head are men. She also loves to write about the South, so most of her stories end up there, one way or another.

A tomboy and a geek from way back, Kerry has a day job but dreams she will one day write full time. She has a weakness for yaoi, Japanese stationery, YA, and ginger-haired singers from Britain. She owns an impressive t-shirt collection. Nowaki & Hiroki are her homeboys.

Links

Website: http://kerryfreeman.com/

Blog: http://blog.kerryfreeman.com/

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/pkZ95

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kfwritesbooks

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkerryfreeman

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4759363.Kerry_Freeman

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And check out an excerpt under the cut:

Read the rest of this entry »

in between

This is yours truly getting ready to sell some books at the NJRW literacy signing. Ever see a photo of yourself and think, “Oh, dear lord, I’m becoming my mother!” That’s what happened when I saw this photo. At least my hair looks good.

I spent this past weekend at the New Jersey Romance Writers convention, which was pretty darn fabulous. It was an interesting convention experience; a substantial chunk of people there were people I already knew, either because they were RWANYC members (that’s my local Romance Writers of America chapter, in which I have been a more active member of late) or I knew them from elsewhere. It’s kind of nice, actually, to walk into a room of mostly strangers and pick a few familiar faces out of the crowd. (Also, my friend Stacey knows EVERYBODY, which was useful to me as I shadowed her.)

I attended all the workshops I had time for and made some new friends, so I consider that a success. (Stand outs: Angela James’s 2-hour branding workshop was really useful and educational, and I also really liked the workshop Alice Orr did on character. So if you ever see either of them hosting something at a con, definitely go!)

Andrew Grey and K.A. Mitchell were also there representing Gay Romancelandia. I sold a woman her first m/m romance. (She’s a menage fan. Menage is the gateway drug, you guys.) Several agents and editors I talked to were enthusiastic about m/m, which feels like a real accomplishment.

So, that was New Jersey. I’m mostly packed for GayRomLit in Albuquerque (leaving at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow). I somehow got all of my swag in my giant suitcase, and that includes all of the pens that got reprinted after the previous debacle, which came in the mail yesterday. I’m probably going to give myself a hernia lugging this huge suitcase around, but I got everything to fit (hopefully under the airline weight limit, because the overweight baggage fee is more than shipping would cost). (See, because I stalled on shipping things because of the misprinted pen situation, so now I have to carry everything to ABQ, and now I think that was kind of stupid but it’s too late. Um. If you’re at GRL, please take my swag so I don’t have to also carry it home. Have pity on the woman who lives on the third floor of a walk-up!) (This situation is not helped by the fact that I apparently felt it necessary to pack my entire wardrobe. But I have to have options! Cute dresses! Shoes! The one vaguely western shirt I own!)

ANYWAY. If you’re gonna be in New Mexico, both my reading and my Q&A are on Friday, and I’ll have some swag and things, though probably less than the previous paragraph implies. (After the Brooklyn Book Festival and NJRW, my swag supplies are slightly depleted, so I’ve only got about 200-250 of each thing, but maybe that makes my swag more RARE and VALUABLE. Also, Matt and Iggy baseball cards with real statistics that I made up! You know you want some. I think the card I made for Matt is especially hot—stock art serendipity, basically—but I’ve got super limited quantities of those.)

Oh, haha, now this post is long. So much for brevity. For those of you I met in New Jersey, HELLO! WELCOME! For those of you not going to ABQ, I’ll be back next week! See you on the flipside.

just one thing

No wrap-up post this week; if all is going to plan, I’m on a train to New Jersey when this posts, on my way to the New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart In a Book Conference. I’ll be there all weekend. Then I come home for two days to repack and head to GayRomLit. Exciting!

I’m really looking forward to both events and have been for a while. If you’re headed to either, be sure to find me and say hi!

five things: GRL (OMG); swag disasters; reviews

Weekly wrap-up, comin’ at ya:

1. I was chatting with a coworker yesterday about my travel plans in October, and she said, “Why are you staying in Albuquerque? There’s nothing to do there.” Somehow, I don’t think that will be a problem for me.

So, YES, GAYROMLIT, LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. I am REALLY EXCITED, if that was not obvious from the caps lock abuse. We’re close enough now that it’s not too weird if I start pre-planning my outfits (not that I didn’t start that already, but now it’s not crazy… right?). Everyone in my social networks is atwitter about it. (Har har.) I would like to get on that plane right now.

I have run into one snafu, which is that the pens I ordered arrived last week and they were misprinted. (Seems to have been a font issue, so some letters were replaced with random characters.) Panic ensued, followed by ranting all over anyone who would listen, and then it took me two days to get anyone at the pen company on the phone. The customer service people, when I did finally get through, were really nice at least and they are sending me new pens, so now we play the game of hoping and praying that they arrive before I fly to ABQ. Man. I really want those pens. My thought process had been that the swag I always keep after conventions are pens. (I always need pens.) These ones I ordered are not top of the line, but they’re nice and they came in a variety of bright colors. *pouts*

Even if the pens don’t come in time, I do have postcards, bookmarks, Matt & Iggy baseball cards, and some other goodies for an event the Rainbow Romance Writers are doing. Between all that and the books I’m going to be selling, my bedroom is currently Box City.

2. BUT FIRST, I’m going back to my home state for the New Jersey Romance Writers convention next weekend and also kind of double-guessing the wisdom of doing two conventions two weekends in a row. (Who needs sleep? Bah.) I’m actually pretty psyched for that one, too, but my plan is to sit back and observe, figure out how these kinds of conventions go down. Well, also to represent the hot gay love contingent of the romance writing universe.

I was going to try to fit New York Comic Con in there, too (also next weekend) but then the part of my conscience that deals with my sanity laughed like a lunatic. So… no Comic Con this year. Maybe next year.

3. Dreamspinner is doing a Halloween Extravaganza, so they’re having sales all month. If for some reason you haven’t read Blind Items or Four Corners, you’ll be able to purchase them for 25% off during GayRomLit (sale is on the 19th–21st) and there might be some things you should pay attention to the @dreamspinners twitter account for.

4. I’m finishing up revisions on Show and Tell this week AND I got a release date yesterday: the book will be out January 22. (That’s soon!)

5. Reviews! I haven’t posted any of these in a while. The Novel Spot gave Across the East River Bridge 4.5 stars. Lisa says, “This is one of those books that not only entertained but also informed, which resulted in a really lovely read for me.”

Top 2 Bottom Reviews gave Four Corners 4.5 stars. Gabbi says, “I enjoyed watching both men work hard to find their way back to each other, and I appreciated the solid foundation of love and trust that they once again build between them.”

Announcement: Sports Week will be happening on this here blog the week of October 22nd, so you’ll have something to read during your GayRomLit hangover. I so far have 3 fantastic guest bloggers lined up, and we’re gonna talk about sports and romance and it will be fun! More details soon!