Moonshine Monday: The Hotel Astor

moonshinemondayWelcome to Moonshine Mondays! In the lead up to the release of my Jazz Age-set romance Such a Dance on October 27, I’m rolling out some history, photos, background info and other special features relating to the book.

Although Such a Dance is populated by a number of fictional locations—Lane’s club, the Marigold; the James Theater where the Eddie dances—I used a number of real locations, too. One of the most notable is the Hotel Astor, which was once a luxury hotel in Times Square, on the block of Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets.

Vintage postcard of the Hotel Astor

Vintage postcard of the Hotel Astor

In the novel, the hotel’s proximity to Lane’s speakeasy on 46th Street is important, but I included the hotel in the book specifically because of the Astor’s notorious hotel bar. Starting in the 1910s, it became a meeting place for homosexual men. It wasn’t subtle, either; an entire section of the bar was set aside for gay men, and they were welcomed as long as they were discreet (for the time). It was part of the thriving gay culture in Times Square in the era, a logical evolution perhaps from the music halls and dive bars for men seeking men that cropped up in the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village in the late 19th Century—gay culture essentially followed the Theater District uptown. By the 1920s, both gay culture and theater are thriving in Times Square, and though the Marigold is fictional, clubs like it existed at the time. (More on this in a future post, but for now I’ll say that a straight line can be drawn from the Bowery music halls of the 1890s to Stonewall, with some points along the way you might not expect.)

Anyway, with this history in mind, I set a pivotal scene in the book at the Astor. For more, here are some exterior photos. And here are more photos, mostly interiors.

The hotel was torn down in the late 60s and today, the block is dominated by a monolithic office tower that is home to MTV studios and the Minskoff Theater (currently home of The Lion King). (Wikipedia.) Next time you’re in NYC and walking through Times Square, imagine a previous era when this block was dominated by one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, and think about who might have been meeting each other at the hotel bar.

Moonshine Monday: NYC Then and Now

moonshinemondayWelcome to Moonshine Mondays! In the lead up to the release of my Jazz Age-set romance Such a Dance on October 27, I’m going to start rolling out some history, photos, background info and other special features relating to the book.

New York has changed quite a bit in the 90 years that have passed since the book takes place. Such a Dance takes place almost entirely within a few blocks of Times Square. We’ll get into some of the specific locations from the book in the coming weeks, but first, I thought I’d set the scene by sharing some photos showing how NYC used to be.

Consider this: in 1927, there was no Empire State Building. There was no Rockefeller Center, no Chrysler Building, no Lincoln Center. There were still elevated trains running down major arteries in Manhattan and whole subway lines that hadn’t been built yet. It’s Prohibition, but though it was illegal to sell “intoxicating beverages,” liquor flowed freely in speakeasies all over the city. It was a seminal year for Broadway as well, with more shows opening that year than any year before or since. Vaudeville was on its way out and Broadway as we know it today, with shows like Showboat opening that year, was taking shape.


Here are some links to posts with photos of Jazz Age New York:

Spotlight on Broadway: The Great White Way—Some fantastic photos of old Times Square

Then vs. Now: 1920s New York—Photos showing NYC in the 1920s and now

Stock footage showing NYC in 1927

I also have a Pinterest board showing NYC in the 1920s.

Tune in next Monday for more!

Cover: Ten Days in August

The cover hit the Internet this past weekend, so I can now show it off to you all. Here’s the cover for my March 2016 historical romance, Ten Days in August

Ten Days In August

From the Lower East Side to uptown Manhattan, a curious detective searches for clues on the sidewalks of New York—and finds a secret world of forbidden love that’s too hot to handle…

New York City, 1896. As the temperatures rise, so does the crime rate. At the peak of this sizzling heat wave, police inspector Hank Brandt is called to investigate the scandalous murder of a male prostitute. His colleagues think he should drop the case, but Hank’s interest is piqued, especially when he meets the intriguing key witness: a beautiful female impersonator named Nicholas Sharp.

As a nightclub performer living on the fringes of society, Nicky is reluctant to place his trust in a cop—even one as handsome as Hank. With Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt cracking down on vice in the city, Nicky’s afraid that getting involved could end his career. But when he realizes his life is in danger—and Hank is his strongest ally—the two men hit the streets together to solve the crime. From the tawdry tenements of the Lower East Side to the moneyed mansions of Fifth Avenue, Nicky and Hank are determined to uncover the truth. But when things start heating up between them, it’s not just their lives on the line. It’s their love…

Add it on Goodreads!

Pre-Order Info:

Barnes & Noble


The winner of the Rafflecopter giveaway was Kelly J! Let’s trot out the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees to celebrate!

The World Series Champion 2009 Yankees

Thanks so much for playing, guys! The response to this contest was way more than what I was expecting!

If you did not win, don’t despair! As of right now (6:30pm Sunday) you can still get The Windup (Rainbow League #1) for 99¢ at the Dreamspinner site for a few more hours! So get yours!

The Long Slide Home Blog Tour

Did you miss any of these stops? Want a little more background on the book? Here’s the tour:


Diverse Reader (character interview with Nate and Carlos)
The Blogger Girls (why I can’t stop writing about baseball)
Prism Book Alliance (the tonal shift this book took from the rest of the series)
The Novel Approach (some fun baseball anecdotes)
Joyfully Jay (series planning)

The blog tour Rafflecopter is still up until Sunday, and you can enter it here.

And the book is available at most fine retailers, including:
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

The Long Slide Home is NOW AVAILABLE!

The Long Slide HomeThe third Rainbow League book, The Long Slide Home is now available just about everywhere!

The Rainbow League: Book Three

Nate and Carlos have been the best of friends since their childhood playing baseball together in the Bronx. For the past few years, Nate’s been in love with Carlos, though he’s never acted on it and Carlos has never given any indication that he returns Nate’s feelings. Nate has finally given up, determined to move on and find someone else, especially now that Carlos has shacked up with his boyfriend, Aiden.

Carlos doesn’t understand why Nate has suddenly gotten weird, acting cold and distant at team practice for the Rainbow League. But if that’s how things are going to be, Carlos is done trying to figure Nate out. But then Aiden reveals he has a violent side, and Carlos needs his best friend’s support. On top of that, he starts to realize his feelings for Nate might not be limited to friendship. But in the aftermath of his relationship with Aiden, and with Nate having problems of his own, the timing is all wrong to make a real relationship work. As emotions run high, both have a hard time figuring out what is real and what is just convenient.

Some places you can find the book:
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

The contest is also still open for one more week!

Enter to Win All Three Rainbow League Books!

To one winner, I’m giving away the set of all three Rainbow League books plus a $25 gift card or credit to a book store (winner’s choice of store). I’m calling it the Season Finale giveaway! There are a bunch of ways to enter. The contest closes on 8/16 and I’ll post the winner on 8/17.

Book 3: The Long Slide Home comes out on Friday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

new social media things!

I’m back from RWA and still recovering, but I wanted to let you all know about a couple of things.

I’ve been quietly setting up social media accounts for… reasons. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, here are a few places you can follow me:

• I’m now on tumblr and following mostly fashion tumblrs at the moment. Most of what I’ve been posting is Rainbow-League-related, and/or blog cross-posts. I hope to change that soon with some original content! So, if you’re on tumblr, follow me there, or even just let me know which tumblrs you follow and enjoy in the comments.

• I’ve got a bunch of Pinterest boards set up that are project related, including one for the Rainbow League, a couple for my upcoming historical romances, and, well, a few dedicated to fashion, but those are really just for fun. :) (I get lost in Pinterest rabbit holes quite easily. It might be affecting my productivity.)

Links to all of my social media can be found in the website sidebar. And if I met you at RWA, please say hi!

Find Me at the #RWA15 Literacy Signing on 7/22!

I’ll be there with many other authors. Book sales benefit literacy charities. It’s really a win-win for everyone!

Here’s the complete list of authors signing.

Literacy Signing

Meanwhile, I’m losing my mind trying to plan what to wear to the RWA conference proper. Crucial decisions must be made! Seriously, though, RWA is one of my favorite conferences, and I’m psyched it’s going to be in New York. (I don’t have to fly! I know where the good restaurants are! I can run home at any time and therefore can make last-minute wardrobe changes and/or acquire books that I won’t have to ship!)

The Boy Next Door is coming back!

The Boy Next DoorI announced in my newsletter earlier this week that I’m bringing The Boy Next Door back from out-of-print hibernation. Basically, after a lot of hemming and hawing, I’ve decided to put it out myself, after some revisions and a fresh edit. (I haven’t made any major changes yet, mostly small stuff like cleaning up some clunky dialogue and fixing embarrassing errors, but my hope is that the book finds its way into the hands of some new readers!)

I’ve got a new cover that I adore; I’ll reveal that next month. I rarely have a specific vision for my covers, but this was a case where I did when the original was published, but the cover artist had a different opinion. I like the original cover fine, but having to put a new cover on the book was an opportunity for me to do what I had always wanted to.

This is also my first real foray into self-publishing. I mean, technically, I self-published Lead Us Not, in that I hired a cover artist and did all the file format conversions myself and am distributing it here and through All Romance eBooks, but it’s a freebie. I also contributed to the self-published For Love and Liberty anthology, but that was a joint venture, and other collaborators did most of the end-game stuff that seems brand new to me now. This re-issue is my first honest-to-goodness go at self-publishing something novel-length. So we’ll see how this goes!

Anyway, the goal is to have that out mid-September. Barring calamity, that should be an easy goal, but this year has had a lot of calamity, so it’s not quite set in stone. Look for more updates in August!