upcoming projects

BGW400x200My novella, Save the Date, will be out June 4th. I’m taking the show on the road with a bunch of other authors who have also written gay wedding stories for Loose Id’s “I do… unless I don’t” promotion. So I’ll be posting links to all of those posts starting the week after next.

I’ve updated the Upcoming page with blurbs for what I think are probably the rest of my 2013 books, including my next novel, The Stars that Tremble. I also just signed a contract for a historical baseball story called One Man to Remember that is part of an anthology of baseball stories called Playing Ball that will be out in early fall, hopefully in time for GRL. Here are all the blurbs for the anthology:

One Man to Remember by Kate McMurray
In the summer of 1927, all anyone in New York can talk about is Babe Ruth and the Yankees’ Murderer’s Row, the unstoppable batting lineup that no other team can beat. Skip Littlefield, an infielder for the less flashy New York Giants, is happy to let the Babe take the spotlight, even as he starts hitting as well as Ruth himself. Sports journalist Walter Selby has gained a reputation for being something of a dandy. He’s a force to be reckoned with, too, as one of the most dynamic voices in the daily papers. And now he can’t help but notice the talented first baseman helping the Giants race for the pennant. Then he meets the man and is left breathless—Skip is talented, soft-spoken, and also incredibly handsome. And Walt quickly comes to understand why Skip wants to stay out of the spotlight.

Against the backdrop of the lights of Times Square, the excitement of the era, and some of the most incredible baseball anyone has ever played, Skip starts to fall for Walt. But no one can know. Skip’s only hope is that the more charismatic stars will draw attention away from the quite romance blooming between Skip and Walt, or else Skip’s whole career and everything he loves is at stake.

Wild Pitch by Marguerite Labbe
For as long as Ruben Martell has known him, he’s been in love with his best friend Alan Hartner. They played together, traveled together and publicly dueled on opposite teams. Now years later they’re both retired from the Major Leagues, are running a business together and coaching rival Little League teams. And in all those years, Ruben hasn’t given up hope that Alan might return his feelings one day, but now he’s starting to believe that Alan will never chose to move beyond the memory of his late wife.

Alan quit the game at the height of his career to take care of his sons and the one constant he’s been able to rely on is Ruben. In all that time he has tried to forget about the night everything changed, only being with Ruben on a day-to-day basis is weakening his resolve. They’d stepped over the line before and it had hurt their friendship and left Alan with a guilt he didn’t know how to handle. Alan doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that friendship now even if it mean denying the feelings he’s kept locked away for so long.

One Last Road Trip by Kerry Freeman
After the last game of his major league career, Jake Wilson is hitting the road, and he’s making a few stops along the way. He has an ex-wife with a new life in New Mexico, a son following in his footsteps in Oklahoma, a daughter with an announcement in Tennessee, and the gamble of a lifetime in Georgia. In 2,500 miles, his life will completely change, and he can only hope that his visit to his first love will cause everything to change for the better.

Home Field Advantage by Shae Connor
College student Toby MacMillan, grandson of Atlanta Braves owner Ray MacMillan, works with the team’s locker room crew during the baseball season. It’s there that he meets Caleb Browning, who’s getting his first shot at the big leagues, and Toby, who’s been trying to keep his sexuality under wraps, finds himself smitten. An innocent dinner soon turns into a not-so-innocent night together in Caleb’s bed, but Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst.

Unable to avoid each other because of their jobs, the two men develop a tentative friendship, but it soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head during a game, Toby’s presence at his hospital bedside catches the attention of more than just the medical staff. Their budding romance hits the news, and Toby’s grandfather threatens to cut Toby out of team ownership unless he denies it. Facing a choice between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it, Toby has to decide if he’s ready to make a stand.

five things on friday: lots of news!

I saw these gorgeous pink flowers yesterday. Hooray spring!

I saw these gorgeous pink flowers yesterday. Hooray spring!

Lots of things to report in the weekly wrap-up post!

1. I’m trying to get the word out that there’s still time to register for the GayRomLit Writers Workshop if you have not done so yet, but you only have until July 15th. It takes place the Wednesday before GRL and is a separate event, so make sure you register if you want to go. If you need an extra incentive, the preliminary schedule has been posted to the GRL website so you can get an idea for what you’re in for. I think this is a fantastic lineup and I’m really psyched for it. There’s something here for everyone, too, from the aspiring to the established author.

2. Ink is drying on the contract for my next novel, the book I’ve mentioned before that is a romance between an opera singer and construction worker called The Stars that Tremble. It’ll be out in the fall (hopefully in time for GRL *fingers crossed*).

3. Book Expo America is next week. I’ll be there on Thursday and Friday—if you will be there also, I want to know! Maybe we can wave at each other across the vast expanse of the exhibition hall!

4. The TV show White Collar has been filming in my neighborhood, much to the consternation of anyone who needs to navigate 8th Avenue in Brooklyn because they keep closing off streets, but I don’t even care because I walked past Matt Bomer on my evening commute Thursday, and that, my friends, made my week. Dear Lord, that is a beautiful man. (I was too awestruck to get a photo. Next time!)

5. You may have heard about the wave of anti-gay violence in New York City. Monday night, I was in the West Village for a book club meeting, and I saw part of the neighborhood rally against the violence. I’m appalled by these crimes—I think there have been 7 incidents just this month, including one man who was shot and killed—but it’s amazing to see people in Chelsea and the West Village come together. Still, it’s alarming; the crimes are seemingly random and unconnected, maybe not a reaction to anything specific so much as a coincidence. I’ve lived in New York in an era when it is one of the safest large cities in the country, and it’s so easy to forget that it’s still a city where crime and violence are not exactly anathema. Although, I also read an articule today that argued that it’s not so much an increase in anti-gay crime in the city as it is an increase in reporting.

BONUS! If you like Regency romances, I just read A Lady Awakened by Cecelia Grant and I loved it so, so much. (It’s not m/m, no, but it’s such a great book.) It’s so refreshingly different from every Regency you’ve read before, with a cold heroine who must be thawed and a flawed hero who has to grow up, and together they fumble their way through their specific purposes—hers to keep her estate, his to learn how to manage his land—and end up together, and it’s fantastic.

five things on friday are fabulous

This week really sped by. It’s already Friday! So, weekly wrap-up!

1. What I’m up to: I’m finishing up a historical baseball story. It’s not officially contracted yet, but here’s the low down: it’s about a dandy sports reporter who is taken with a media-shy rookie player for the NY Giants in 1927 when Babe Ruth and the Yankees are dominating the headlines. (Homosexuality, while not celebrated, was also not condemned in the same way in 1927 that it was after World War II. So my sports reporter is not “out” in the contemporary sense of the word, but everyone kind of knows.) I’m hoping to polish up the ending this weekend.

2. I’m also gearing up to do a little road show for Save the Date, my novella out June 4. It’s part of a Loose Id promotion called “I Do… Unless I Don’t” so I have teamed up with a few of the other authors who wrote gay stories (Dev Bentham, J.A. Rock, Cassandra Gold, and Dominique Frost) for a Big Gay Wedding blog tour. I’ll post dates for that soon, so you can follow along at home.

3. I’m also working on the GayRomLit Writers Workshop now, in hip-deep as it were. We’re in the process of finalizing the schedule, and let me tell you, we have a FANTASTIC lineup of workshops and speakers. So if you were hedging on whether to go, let me tell you: if you are a writer, you should go.

4. Back in New York: I met a friend for dinner in Chelsea last night. We ate at a Thai place and sat next to this very affectionate, handsy gay couple, one of whom didn’t speak English that well, so watching him try to get the waitress to explain what he was eating was kind of adorable. He kept calling the triangular cracker things that came with the tuna tartar “tacos.”

Later, we went down Eighth Avenue to a little bakery for dessert, and while we were chatting over cookies, this big protest march went down the street. They were chanting something like, “These are OUR streets!” One of them ran inside and handed the guy at the counter a flyer. The guy explained that a gay couple had been really brutally beaten after a Knicks game recently. (When I went home and Googled the incident, it turned out that there have actually been THREE really awful gay bashings recently, two near Penn Station and a third in front of a gay bar on Christopher Street. Hence the take-back-the-streets march.) I’m horrified by the gay bashing news; I should probably not be surprised that something like this can happen in New York City, but I am. Silver lining: The tail end of the protest march chanted one of the best slogans I’ve ever heard: “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re fabulous! Don’t fuck with us!” And good on Chelsea residents for showing solidarity that way.

5. I’m allergic to whatever is blooming right now, and my eyes are so watery, I’m worried someone is going to ask what’s wrong, and then I’ll have to come up with some story about how wisteria reminds me of a lost love and I just can’t help but weeping, except actually, there is just not enough Claritin in the world to ease my suffering. Which is a shame, because the weather has been pretty spectacular this week, a welcome respite to the very long winter we had (plus the snow in KC!).

I exaggerate. It’s actually not that bad, save for the low-grade sinus headache I’ve had since Saturday and the fact that the allergy meds are making me kind of groggy, slowing down my writing progress somewhat. Welcome summer, I guess.

five things about RT

Me at the RT Giant Book Fair (photo by Elizabeth North)

Me at the RT Giant Book Fair (photo by Elizabeth North)

Since I’m still buzzing from RT, I thought for my weekly wrap-up post this week, I’d just talk about 5 random things I saw/did at the convention. May this serve as your enticement to attend next year.

1. Heidi Cullinan dressed as Mitch from Special Delivery and was a QUITE CONVINCING dude. Like, I knew in advance that she was going to do the drag, and then I went to the Romance Pride party, where there was this rando standing outside the door, and it took me a minute or two to realize it was Heidi. (She posted some photos.)

2. So many books. SO MANY BOOKS. I won a bag of books at Cinema Craptastique my first night there and only kept the books from it I thought I’d actually read, but just by virtue of being at the con, 10 books (excluding my own books) made their way into my luggage, and I shipped another 6–8. (The box of stuff I shipped home arrived yesterday, but I’m kind of afraid to open it.) I did not purchase a single book, it should be noted.

3. This year’s RT featured the first ever m/m panel, although frankly, I am all for the integration of all romance, so I kind of hope it’s the last m/m panel. I’d like to see gay romance authors on many kinds of panels next year. (Here’s why: when Tara Lain asked the audience at the m/m panel who had not read an m/m novel, only maybe 2 people raised their hands, so I think the panel was mostly preaching to the choir. But we want new readers, no?)

I mean, sure, at the Giant Book Fair on Saturday, I did get the stink-eye from one reader who asked what I wrote, but everyone else was at least open to hearing about my books. There was a ton of enthusiasm for gay romance, actually, particularly at the book fairs. I sold a lot of books at the Thursday ebook expo (more than I was expecting) almost entirely based on the covers snagging people’s attention as they walked by, and some of my books have unambiguously male/male covers.

There was a great group of gay romance writers who did attend, so we made a good showing. There were at least 15 gay romance writers there that I can think of off the top of my head, probably more like 20.

And authors, don’t underestimate the power of just being friendly and respectful at a con. It goes a long way. I met some really cool people there and also got to meet some people I’ve only corresponded with online, and that was really fun.

4. I rode the elevators with some very famous authors, which was kind of surreal. I had been warned that whole book deals go down in the elevators. Cherry Adair complimented my shoes when we wound up in an elevator together, and that was awesome. I was staying on the 25th floor, so all journeys to my room were long and involved a lot of elevator-related shenanigans (I joked on Twitter that the elevators deserved their own Twitter account based on how quirky they were). At a place where romance authors are treated like rock stars (AS THEY SHOULD BE) sometimes, you wind up sitting in the lobby next to EL James or Jude Devereaux and sometimes you get so starstruck you start shaking as you meet one of your idols (not that this happened to me *shifty eyes*).

I mean, just as a longtime romance reader, RT was great. Like Romance Disney Land.

5. I didn’t go to as many panels as I thought I would—there was so much on my agenda that I just didn’t make it to—but the most informative panel I went to was on diversity in romance, led by Suleikha Snyder, Jeannie Lin, Shawtelle Madison, and Mina Khan. A lively discussion with the audience ensued in which we talked about how people of color are (under)represented in romance and how authors can get it right. The gist was to write characters first.

So, I had a good time at RT. Can you tell?

On the flight home, I read an entire Sabrina Jeffries novel (one that I got in one of the, like, 5 gift bags I was handed throughout the week) that I enjoyed. Fluffy Regency romances are my crack, basically. I love them. I read them when I’m feeling blue. I tend to glom on them, reading 5 or 6 in a row. I want to write a gay Regency one of these days.

I had been sort of wondering about the state of historical romance, since I’ve seen fewer of them reviewed lately (but no shortage of them published, it seems) and I got the impression at the Giant Book Fair at RT that the contemporary erotic romance authors (Sylvia Day, for example) were much bigger draws than the five big-name historical writers who were sitting across the aisle from me (Jeffries included). Then there was that post on Dear Author earlier this week, calling for the whole sub-genre to die. To which I said, “No! You will have to take my Regencies from my cold, dead hands!” (I finished the new Sarah MacLean book last night, and it was GOOD.) But I love historicals. I’d love to see more with different settings and different kinds of characters. (I’m working on a gay historical right now, in fact!) I get the point about there being kind of a sameyness to the books coming out now, but I think you could say that about any sub-genre. (Do we REALLY need more post-apocalyptic YA?)

Look, read what you want. If you don’t like Regencies, that’s fine, as long as there are plenty for me to read. And I got a bunch from RT, so neener.

Next up on my agenda: BEA!

I survived RT!

Actually, the whole thing was awesome. I will hopefully have more to say on Friday when I’m better rested (although I have deadlines this week, so that may be a pipe dream) but I did have a great time and I met some great people, and I laughed more this week than I have in a long time. There are a lot of romance fans and authors that I just adore and it was a pleasure to spend time with some of you last week. I am giddy with excitement for next year’s RT in New Orleans.

But a few things:

1. I was struck by the role of social media in an environment in which you are basically interacting face-to-face with people you would only see online (or in your dreams) otherwise. Because there was a lot of chatter on Twitter and Facebook through the whole thing.

2. Guys, I signed books at an event in which some of the best romance writers on the planet were also signing books, I had FANS come to my table specifically to see me and not just by accident, and I am humbled that such a thing happened. I mean, Laura Kinsale, you guys. I got to tell Laura Kinsale that Flowers from the Storm is my favorite historical romance of all time ever, and she was totally sweet in the face of all my gushing.

3. I mean, the big name romance writers are treated like rock stars at a convention like RT, and that is AS IT SHOULD BE.

4. Thanks to Mary G. for this very nice shout out in the RT coverage for the USA Today HEA blog.

That’s all I got for now; a week like that will wipe you out, and I was up late last night because I was still so wired, so I’m tired today. I will have more things to say in my weekly Five Things post on Friday, or sooner maybe. But yeah, it was really great. Also great, did I say great? (Synonyms. Hard to come up with when you’re down to your last couple of awake brain cells.)