Available Now: The Silence of the Stars

20140318-215505.jpgNow available for your reading pleasure, wherever you buy books, is The Silence of the Stars!

The sequel to The Stars that Tremble

Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.

Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press.

The Stars that Tremble: Blog Tour

Here are the blog tour stops, if you want to re-live the guest-post magic!

RWANYC: MEET THE HERO: Everett — Character interview with Everett at the New York City RWA chapter blog.

Joyfully Jay: The Elusive Sequel — I wrote a guest post about how hard it is for me to write sequels; The Silence of the Stars is a triumph!

Prism Book Alliance: Interview — Beverley of PBA interviewed me about Rainbow Romance Writers, writing what you know, and lots of other things.

The Novel Approach: Throwback Thursday — A little about my musical origins.

Romance at Random: When Opposites Attract — A trope-tacular discussion!

A few of those posts have contests attached, so there might still be time to win a copy of the book.

upcoming events

I’ll be at two big events in the next few weeks if you want to come say hi:

Book Expo America is this week. I’ll be signing at the Dreamspinner booth (#1421) at 10:30 Saturday morning, so if you’re there, come by and get a copy of The Silence of the Stars! (Then Tere Michaels and Elle Brownlee are signing at 11:00 and Damon Suede is singing at 11:30. In the afternoon, Michael Murphy, Ariel Trachna, and Andrew Grey will be signing, starting at 1pm.)

Then on Saturday, June 14th, there’s going to be a Romance Festival at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in NYC. Admission is free. A bunch of area authors will have tables there where they will be signing and selling books. I’m doing a panel to talk about For Love and Liberty and multicultural Revolutionary War stories. It’ll be a good time and you should come if you’re in the area.

RT 2014 Wrap-Up

Well, I have my second RT under my belt. I had fun, I learned things, I’m still kind of a post-con zombie.

Highlights:

• I saw 3 panels (that’s 1 more than last year! It’s tough finding the time in that daunting schedule to see and do everything). The first was an LGBT panel moderated by Sarah Frantz featuring Suzanne Brockmann, SE Jakes, KA Mitchell, Marie Sexton, and Heidi Belleau. The third was also an LGBT panel moderated by Sarah Frantz, this one featuring Ruth Sternglatz (an editor at Bold Strokes Books), Christopher Rice, Heather Osborn from Samhain, Amy Lane, blogger Joyfully Jay, and Kelly Jamieson. Both were enjoyable and everyone had interesting things to say. I also attended a panel on multicultural romance moderated by RT editor Mala Bhattacharjee featuring Farrah Rochon, Alisha Rai, Jeannie Lin, and Sandra Kitt. That was also pretty great.

Someone asked me to compare RT and RWA panels. I think panels at RWA are more educational; panels at RT are mostly about seeing people you admire say interesting things. I’m not sure I learned anything new at any of the panels I went to, but I did really enjoy them all. Also I ended up winning the hardcover of Suzanne Brockmann’s new book at that first panel, which made me ridiculously happy. (I can fangirl with the best of them, too.)

• I helped out with Cinema Craptastique—if you don’t know, that’s basically live MST3K—and we had a lot of weird technical difficulties, but we got it up and running in time. I highly encourage everyone to fly in early to attend.

• I co-hosted a game party called Romance Pride Wheel of Fortune. The readers seemed to have fun and I will totally do it again next year, though it felt a little chaotic. It’s good to have these experiences and work out what will work better the next time.

• I won a fifth of bourbon playing bingo at a party I attended. I don’t drink bourbon, but that’s still pretty cool.

• I ran into someone I went to college with and haven’t seen since I graduated. Not only is she a romance author, we have the same agent. *sings* It’s a small world after all. (I figured it was only a matter of time before I ran into someone from my “other life” at a convention.)

• I got to wear a lot of cute dresses. Someone told me I was the cutest ever, and I considered changing my tagline. Would you buy a romance novel from “Kate McMurray, the cutest ever”?

• Then there was New Orleans itself! So much great food! So many things to see! It’s a wonderful city and I was happy to be there for the second time.

• I’m still working out my feelings about how the book fair went—you’ve heard about that by now, probably. The main point of contention was the separation of traditional and indie published authors into separate rooms, which I figured was mostly a money thing—indie books were sold on consignment, traditional books were sold through the book store. Other authors can probably write smarter things than I’m capable of writing on that. I was in the traditional published room. I sat next to Lindsay McKenna, who has been writing military romance for Harlequin for 30 years, and we had a really nice conversation about the progress of LGBT romance and digital-first publishing, and she’s a really nice woman. I met some fans, too, always the highlight of any signing.

• For me, the BEST part of RT is hanging out with old friends and meeting new people. I got to talk to readers and bloggers a lot more this year than I did last year, which I enjoyed. I miss you all already!

• LGBT romance was very well represented, which was awesome to see. This was true both in terms of ads on display and authors attending. On the plane home, my friend Stacey wanted book recs for gay romance, and I was like, “Any LGBT author you met this weekend.” It would be hard to go wrong with any of the attending authors, of which there were at least 25 at my count, all of them people you’ve heard of and adore, I imagine. (Actually, it was probably way more than 25, I’m just bad at counting, and when I mentally ran through everyone I talked to, there are also a bunch of authors who write a bit of everything, including het romance and gay romance and menage and all of those things.) If you’re a gay romance fan, this was a great conference at which to meet your favorite authors. I felt like it also warmly embraced writers of LGBT fiction.

So that was RT in a nutshell, for me anyway. I’m already looking ahead to Dallas in 2015! Thanks for putting on a great show, all of the RT staff and volunteers!

Next up I’ve got BEA next week and RWA in July. I just got confirmation that I’m all signed up for the Literacy Signing at RWA, so if you’ll be in San Antonio on July 23, come see me there!

Going to RT? Come to Romance Pride!

Spread the word! I’m co-hosting the Romance Pride: Wheel of Fortune event at RT, and it is going to be so awesome, you will be sad if you miss it.

Click to embiggen!

Click to embiggen!

Want more info? Check out the event Facebook page.

The short version is that we will be playing games and giving out prizes. So many prizes. You want a teaser? Well, as it happens, I live with a jewelry designer, so I commissioned some super cute McMurray-themed earrings. Here is one pair:

Bookish Earrings

The party’s at 10am Monday. Fortify with caffeine, then come play!

The Silence of the Stars, now available for preorder

20140505-071744.jpgThe Silence of the Stars can now be pre-ordered from Dreamspinner Press!

Extra Bonus: All of my books are 35% off from the Dreamspinner site as part of their anniversary sale. That offer is good until May 10. If you haven’t read The Stars that Tremble, now could be the time to pick that up, too.

You can also add the book on Goodreads.

A Spin-off of The Stars that Tremble

Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.

Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head.

Available May 30, 2014!

Announcement: For Love and Liberty anthology, June 2014

LLCoverSoon3Here’s what happened: Alyssa Cole and I are in the same book club, and last summer, we read a couple of Revolutionary War romances. What we liked about both books was the “not Regency England” setting; we’re both historical romance fans, and it was fun to read books set in a different historical era. (And, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still love Regencies, but you gotta switch it up sometimes.) Still, the books had flaws, so we started talking about what we would have done differently. And, literally, as we were walking out of the library that night, Alyssa said, “We should write Revolutionary War romances. Hey, what if we did an anthology?” And thus the For Love and Liberty project was born.

The other thing to know about us is that Alyssa writes multicultural romance and I write gay romance, and pretty early in our thought process, it occurred to us that we could write stories featuring, let’s say, underrepresented characters. So that became our anthology theme. We’re calling them “untold stories,” which means these are stories from the sorts of characters you don’t hear from very often in historical romances, or in historical narratives generally.

We asked our friends if they wanted to contribute and eventually put four stories together. Mine is The Gay One. I’ll talk about it more below. Alyssa’s features former slaves and the British army’s promise to emancipate any men who signed on to fight for the Crown. Lena Hart has written about a woman who is half-African, half-Native American who falls in love with a white British officer. And Stacey Agdern has written about the Jewish community in New York and how they were affected by the war.

So here’s the deal with my story, “Rebels at Heart”:

Charles Foxworth is a dandy. I wanted to write about someone fashion obsessed. I spent some time looking at gorgeous period clothing in a number of different books on the history of fashion. In the nineteenth century, there were dandies and then there were their even more flamboyant cousins, the macaronis. Macaronis were known for their elaborate fashions with lots of stripes and rosettes and embroidery as well as their tall wigs. They wore fashions in peacock colors and added feathers to everything. The best thing I learned while researching is that this is the origin of the line, “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni,” in the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

At the time, fashion did not have a gay connotation per se. In the opening scene of the story, Charles puts on a pink frock coat. The coat is based on gorgeous one I found in a book on the history of fashion, a British design from the 1770s, and there’s nothing feminine about the coat. The macaronis were parodied in drawings and comedy of the era, and while there are some gendered considerations, the fashionable men of this era wouldn’t have read “gay” to the society at large as fashionable, flamboyant men do today (stereotypically speaking).

The eighteenth century did have a culture of mollies, male prostitutes who serviced male clients. Sodomy was a hanging offense and was considered a “crime against nature.” But there was no real vocabulary, no concept of homosexuality the way we think of it now. A man like Charles could parade around Colonial New York City in his finest clothing and his powdered wigs and he wouldn’t have projected his sexuality, and I glean that most people wouldn’t have read much into it (beyond “Wow, that dude’s ridiculous”).

Isaac Ward is a freedman, an emancipated slave who came to New York after being granted his freedom. He worked as a blacksmith’s apprentice until an accident cost him his job, and an intrigued Charles offered him a position. The job is really a pretense, though; as Charles and Isaac carry on a sexual liaison, to the world they are master and servant. But it’s only when the war arrives in New York that they have to evaluate what their relationship really means.

Here’s the official (for now) blurb:

Charles Foxworth is among New York City’s most fashionable men, though he is only pretending to be a dashing British aristocrat. Still, he is content with his role and has little interest in the war. His companion, Isaac Ward, has more invested in the coming conflict; Isaac was born a slave, and though he is now free, that freedom could be guaranteed if he chose to pick up arms. Then war arrives on the shores of the city and Charles’s idyll is over. He quickly realizes that the war could take from him the very thing he holds most dear: Isaac.

And the anthology blurb:

In BE NOT AFRAID by Alyssa Cole, a black Patriot captured by the British falls in love with a headstrong runaway determined to leave the colonies… while a wounded British soldier discovers the healing power of love in the arms of a gentle native woman in A SWEET SURRENDER by Lena Hart… yet in REBELS AT HEART by Kate McMurray, two men must make hard choices if they are to stay together when war arrives on the shores of their home in New York City… at last, in HOME by Stacey Agdern, a young Jewish couple must decide what can hold them together before war and geography tear them apart.

We’re self-publishing and aiming to have the book up in mid-June from various ebook retailers (and also in print, if all goes to plan). You can add the book on Goodreads.

Also, BONUS: You can see all four of us yak about our research at the upcoming Romance Festival that is to be held at the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York City on June 14th!