New old baseball story!

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.

Get it now for 99¢!

Universal book link.

Baseball romance in time for the World Series!

You may know that I am a huge baseball fan. Game 1 of the World Series is tonight, which is very exciting! And you may have wandered over to this website thinking, “I heard Kate wrote that baseball romance, what was it called again?”

So, SURE, this is a promo post with an obvious tie-in to a current event, but this is also my website, so here you go. Here’s a primer on my baseball books if you want some baseball romance reading!

Out in the Field
Matt Blanco is at the twilight of his career and Iggy Rodrigquez is at the beginning of his on the World Champion Brooklyn Eagles. It’s romance, it’s Major League Baseball, and everyone gets a happy ending!

“One Man to Remember” in Playing Ball
Baseball in the Jazz Age! A Major League player in the Babe Ruth era falls for a flamboyant sportscaster.

Four Corners
This novel is not about baseball per se, but it is about four guys who played baseball as kids (they were the four corners of the baseball diamond) and the romance between Jake (the one who stayed) and Adam (the one who left). There’s a lot of baseball talk, though, and a tension-filled scene at the batting cages!

“What There Is”
This little novella is about a retired professional baseball player who needs a place to stay, and ends up finding love with his geeky roommate.

Thrown a CurveAnd finally, the Rainbow League series, which is about an LGBT amateur baseball league in NYC.
The Windup
Anxious Ian is back in NYC after fleeing a traumatic childhood and intends to leave just as soon as he makes sure his ailing mother is ok, but then he joins the Rainbow League and meets Ty, who may just persuade him to stay.

Thrown a Curve
Retired Yankee Mason came out in a very public way and still struggles to find acceptance in his own family. Meeting flashy hairdresser Patrick doesn’t make that much easier. And yet…

The Long Slide Home
Childhood friends Nate and Carlos save each other from some difficult times and become more than friends along the way. This one’s a bit of a slow burn, but it wraps up a series-long arc, so I recommend reading all 3 books in order.

The baseball season begins!

Baseball MondaysThe baseball season has just begun! So here’s a bonus Baseball Monday!

If you’ve been around these parts, you may be aware of the fact that I am a huge baseball fan. My sister-in-law had a good insight regarding that recently. In New York, since we have two teams to choose from, she said that whoever was winning more when you were twelve is your team. This is not exactly true in my case—the Yankees sucked when I was twelve—but I did go to my first Yankee game when I was twelve (and they lost, badly, to the Orioles, but it was such a great experience that it kind of imprinted itself on my psyche).

I recently re-watched Ken Burns’s documentary Baseball, and I’ll say, if anyone is ever wondering, “Why does Kate like this sport so much?” watch it to find out. Even if you just watch The Tenth Inning (a follow-up documentary Burns put out a few years ago; the original first aired in 1994), you’ll see “the key years of Kate’s fandom” (the ’90s and ’00s) and my team’s great triumphs (Aaron Boone’s home run to win the 2003 ALCS) and defeats (the Red Sox coming from behind to win the 2004 ALCS and ultimately win the World Series). The documentary is fantastic, and I highly recommend it if you’re even a tiny bit interested in baseball (and have a good number of hours on your hand, because it’s long).

So, hey! Have you caught up with my baseball books? There’s the whole Rainbow League series, about the guys who play for an amateur league. There’s Out in the Field, the story of two Major League ballplayers who fall in love. There’s “One Man to Remember,” my historical novella about a player in Babe Ruth’s shadow in 1927. Four Corners is about four old friends who played baseball together (though the story is really more baseball adjacent). And “What There Is” is a novella about a former ballplayer who falls for his new roommate.

The beginning of the baseball season is great because it’s fresh and new and the prospects for your team always seem positive. Anything can happen! So happy spring and happy baseball!!

Baseball Monday: The All-Star Break

Baseball MondaysIf you’re a Major League Baseball fan, you know this week is the All-Star Game. This year, the timing is strange, because I’ve been playing fantasy baseball all season and finally, mercifully, I’ve got a team that doesn’t totally suck and I’m inching up the standings… and then All-Star Break. It’s kind of anti-climactic. Not to mention, I always thought there was something kind of Field Day-ish about the pageantry of the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby. Fun, sure, but irrelevant and kind of childish? I dunno.

The fun part, though, is the way the teams rally on social media to get their guys on the NL or AL teams. Thus the All-Star teams end up being a Who’s Who of the most popular players in the game. (Talent is usually relevant—baseball fans typically like players who do well and help win games—but since fans vote, it’s more a popularity contest than anything else.)

All Star GameWhich begs the question: who would be on your All-Star team? After I finish putting most of this year’s Yankee team on there—because I really thought this year would be not great, but as of when I’m writing this post, we’re currently in first place in the division—who’s left?

I mean, the team doesn’t have to be all Yankees. We can pick some guys from other teams, too.

I’ll kick the question to you all. Which athletes, be they current, historical, real, or fictional, would be on the All-Star Team… of your heart?

Some suggestions to get you going:

Babe RuthI’ve always been fascinated by Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players of all time, whose athletic prowess was essentially fueled by hot dogs, moonshine, and women. Hardly performance enhancing drugs, those. It can’t be denied that the 1927 Yankees, on which Ruth was part of the Murderer’s Row of unstoppable hitters, was one of the greatest baseball teams ever assembled. Ruth’s stats still hold up, and his records went unchallenged for decades.

jeter-306-1406130724As a Yankees fan since the early 90s, I watched pretty much all of the Captain’s career, and he will forever be one of my favorites. Likable guy, super talented, part of the late-90s NYY dynasty. NGL, he was a little bit the inspiration for Matt Blanco in Out in the Field.

Jmd 0270 MAUER BPOh, you want a non-Yankee? Fine, fine. Here’s Joe Mauer from the Twins, forever and always my baseball boyfriend. He’s so cute. 😉 (Your choices don’t have to be deep. Sometimes a little shallow ogling is okay.)

Tom BerengerI always had kind of a soft spot for Tom Berenger’s character in Major League. Maybe I have a soft spot for underdogs? No, I’m a Yankees fan, never mind. Honorable fictional mention to every character Kevin Costner has played in a baseball movie, because there are a lot of those.

All right, your turn. Who’s on your All-Star Team? They don’t even have to be baseball players if baseball isn’t your sport. Football? Hockey? Basketball? Who you got?

Playing Ball blog tour week 1 highlights

The anthology is out! Order here!

I posted an excerpt of my historical story One Man to Remember. For excerpts of the other stories, check out the websites of my co-conspirators: Marguerite Labbe, Shae Connor, and Kerry Freeman. We’ve put together a pretty stellar anthology if I do say so myself.

Marguerite and I discussed the greatest baseball rivalry of all time at the Armchair Reader. (That’s Yankees vs. Red Sox. I bet you can guess which side of that I fall on.)

And today, I wrote about why we love sports romances for Elisa’s blog.

And don’t forget you can enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a few cool prizes.

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

Weeekly wrap-up! It’s been sort of a slow-news week (personally) but let’s see if I can’t come up with five things to talk about.

I’ve had a lot of coffee today, so this might be a little silly. Also, I’m currently wearing unseasonable Santa socks, because they were clean. I have boots on, no one can tell! So now you know a secret. Shh.

Jock week1. I’ll be participating in Jock Week over at Joyfully Jay’s next week. There’s a huge book giveaway, so definitely go check it out. Here’s a preview. (I think my guest post goes up on Tuesday. I bet you can guess what sport I wrote about.)

2. Speaking of jocks, spring training has started! Baseball is coming! (It’s like “Winter is coming” except the opposite because it’s spring and there’s baseball!)

Hey, let’s get the 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees to cheer!

The World Series Champion 2009 Yankees

3. If you saw my post on Tuesday, you may be happy to learn that I seem to have gotten past my writing slump/rut/whatever and have been giddily typing away at my WIP all week and it’s going well and makes me happy.

4. I’ve been bogged down with reading stuff that is not for fun, so while I finish that up, I’ve been buying books like they’re going out of style. (I should clarify, I’m judging a contest and am reading books for that contest, and some of them have been quite fun, so it’s not all misery here. Just, because of the sheer volume of stuff I have to read by a certain date, I’m not allowing myself to read purely for fun.) So, I saw a special on TV a couple of weeks ago on the historical origins of Robin Hood and then promptly bought a bunch of books on, like, Medieval European history and the British monarchy. Yes, these are things that I will read for fun! Also, scrolling though my Kindle, I see I also bought a book on sexuality in the Ancient World that looks pretty good as well as 3 m/m novels that I REALLY want to read. (I mean, lord save me from 1-click buying on Amazon, because I just sit there and am like, “Oh, sure, that looks good!” *click* So, yes, folks, a decent cut of my royalties gets recycled right back into the publishing industry. It’s like when I worked retail in college and, like, half of any paycheck would go right back into the store. Being around all those cute clothes all day was too much temptation.)

5. Now is as good a time as any to point you toward my events page, which I just updated since somehow I failed to include RWA in July. I’m still planning on GayRomLit; that will I hope be the capstone on a most excellent year.

baseball eye candy

I think baseball is not a sport that is usually correlated with hotness. This is my theory on why there are so many m/m romances with football or hockey players—big dudes who like to, uh, tackle each other. But I am here to disabuse you of the notion that baseball is not sexy, because it is! Here is some photographic evidence (click on these to embiggen them!):

Chase Utley

Chase Utley, 2nd base, Phillies
(Chase, I would like you more if you got off the DL and earned my fantasy team some points. You do me no good by sitting on the bench. Please get better soon. Thank you.)

Grady Sizemore

Grady Sizemore, center field, Indians

David Wright

David Wright, 3rd base, Mets

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer, Catcher, Twins
Can’t leave off my baseball boyfriend. Here’s some more.

And now for the Yankee-centric portion of this blog post:


Alex Rodriguez, 3rd base
A-Rod. Not so much the greatest human being. Totally useless last post-season. Not hard on the eyes.

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano, 2nd base
This guy’s already a legend.

Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher, right field
Swish always looks thrilled. Happiest guy in baseball right there.

Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson, center field
I love this guy. Great ballplayer, seems like a great guy, and he’s adorable.

Mark Texieira

Mark Texieira, 1st base
I mean, do the Yankees have an attractive infield or what?

Derek Jeter

Don’t worry, Derek!

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter, shortstop
I could never leave you off this list!

So there’s your little bit of baseball hotness for the day. For more, Out in the Field is now available!

Here’s a whole slide show of hot baseball players! Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite player that I egregiously left off the list? Add him in the comments. Pictures encouraged!

one of those times

I had a pretty intense week. With the upcoming publication of Out in the Field (Tuesday!) and my various other projects, most of my concentration had been on my writing, but then a bunch of stuff came up to my divert my attention. It was one of those weeks that made me sort of reevaluate my priorities—not that anything drastic will be changing, but I think there are things that happen sometimes that make you realize what’s really important.

Brooklyn Bridge The County of Kings (otherwise known as Brooklyn) saw fit to put me on a trial jury this week. That was kind of an interesting experience. The case ultimately settled without input from the jury, but I went to court for two days and sat in the jury box and listened to testimony. It was kind of a fun break in my routine, although man, justice does not move fast. I think I probably spent more time sitting in the deliberation room than I actually did in the court room. I read a lot while I was stuck sitting around, and I’m working on a post about some of my observations. (I was on a historical romance kick and I had some thoughts about why the genre was so popular.) I also liked walking around Downtown Brooklyn. That area maybe holds a special place in my heart because a) it was one of the first places in Brooklyn I got a chance to explore after I moved here, and b) I’m a history nerd (if that wasn’t obvious) and Brooklyn Heights/Downtown Brooklyn has a LOT of interesting history. The courthouses are at the foot of the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. I had plans with a friend of mine at a place on the Lower East Side Wednesday night, so I decided to just walk there when court let out that afternoon. The weather was a little dreary, but it’s still a nice walk (that’s when/where this photo was taken—click to embiggen; you can see the still-under-construction tower they’re building where the WTC used to be on the left there). I then took a circuitous route up through lower Manhattan and Chinatown and the LES, which I enjoyed.

Some family stuff came up, too, which has been a little bit taxing emotionally. Some of my extended family came to New York to visit/help out, which was really great. My parents are both midwesterners who moved to the Northeast when I was a toddler, so pretty much all of my extended family lives a fair distance away and I don’t see them as often as I’d like. We had dinner Friday night at a seafood restaurant at South Street Seaport, which is a silly touristy thing to do, but the restaurant had a spectacular view up the East River of the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges.

Most of yesterday was spent working on the family stuff, and then I went out dancing last night, so I’m pretty tired today. I’m catching up on things, basically.

Final business: Thanks to everyone who has taken the RRW romance reader survey! Your input is really valuable to us. If you haven’t taken it yet, you can find it here.

And, to fulfill my hot baseball player quotient, here’s a video of Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher on How I Met Your Mother a few years ago:

big news, small news

Joe Mauer can't help but be adorable.Lots of things to talk about! Today’s post shall be sponsored by the adorable Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer, because I think all posts for the next couple of weeks should be accompanied by photos of hot baseball players.

• Last week’s Beat Your Winter Blues was over at JP Barnaby’s, and we discussed our favorite first signs of spring. There’s still time to enter to win the grand prize!

• You can head on over to Chris’s blog to win a copy of Out in the Field!

• I’m doing some website tweaking. Thanks to my friends Stacy and Alexis for helping me come up with a tagline, which is something I have been agonizing over for a while. I do sweat the small stuff sometimes, I guess. My writers group has been referring to my books as “baseball and gay sex” since before I was published, which, while accurate, is not the catchiest of taglines.

• I wrote a short story for the Goodreads M/M Group‘s Love Is Always Write event. I believe that will be available for (free!) download in late May or early June.

Out in the Field will be out a week from today! I’ve booked a trip on a mini blog tour, so I’m gonna be all up in your face for the next few weeks. 🙂