Archive for category five things

5 resolutions

I’m actually pretty good at resolutions. I think the trick to keep them both specific and realistic and for them to be things I actually want to do. Like, resolving to take up yoga this year is probably not a great idea, because although I think yoga would be a good thing for me to do, I have disliked yoga classes I’ve taken in the past, so I keep dragging my heels on signing up. (I have no excuse! There’s a yoga studio ON MY BLOCK, a thirty-second walk from my apartment, and the people who work there seem very nice! And yet!) But there was the time in my late twenties when I went to a classical music concert, thought, “I really miss playing the violin,” and then the following January resolved to do more of that. That very month, I went out and auditioned for an orchestra and signed up for refresher lessons. In 2008, I resolved to finish a novel, which I accomplished. The year after that, I gave myself until the end of the year to actually submit something for publication; I sent In Hot Pursuit to Loose Id that summer.

Basically, I’m the sort of Type A who does what she sets out to, most of the time anyway.

Here are my resolutions for this year:

1. Spend more time acknowledging what I’ve accomplished instead of fretting about what I have to do.

Here’s what I mean by that. At New Year’s, a friend’s husband asked about my writing career. “How many books have you written now?” I couldn’t even remember. I was like, “Uh, I think I have nine published novels now?” This blew my friend away. He said, “That’s a lot for a short amount of time.” Well, I said, these are the books I’ve written over 5 years or so. He pointed out, “That means you’ve written two novels each year! That’s incredible!”

It’s hard not to get caught up in the rat race. Publishing is a tough industry, and I’ve been working in it in various capacities for twelve years. Everyone’s always worried about what’s next. I’m always worried.

But it’s good to remember that one novel, let alone nine, is more than a lot of people will ever write, and it’s no small feat. Those books represent a lot of hard work on my part. I should take the time to, as Damon Suede often says, feel that fact.

2. Make a real schedule.

My whole life is in my iPhone calendar, and I wish the engineers or software developers or whoever at Apple would leave well enough alone, because I HAAAAATE the new calendar in iOS7. So, for the first time in probably five years, I bought a paper calendar. It has pretty vintage New York City photos on it. So far I have found a place to hang it and taken it out of the plastic.

Anyway. This is kind of more a personal growth thing, but I want to not get so overwhelmed by the great many things I have on my schedule in any given week. I think breaking it down into reasonable chunks and being prepared for what’s ahead is the key. Otherwise, I just look at all those little dots on the phone calendar and silently scream.

3. Be the best damned Rainbow Romance Writers president I can be.

Self explanatory, I think.

4. Finish reading all those damn books in the pile next to the bed.

I have a terrible habit with nonfiction, in that I very frequently start a book, get about halfway through it, put it down, and never pick it up again. I’ve got five of these on a variety of topics—namely, the American Revolution, Theodore Roosevelt, Greenwich Village, homosexuality in Victorian England, and personal finance—sitting in a pile next to my bed, and I do want to finish all of them. They are all really interesting! I will do that this year! I will!

5. Moar Reading!

I read about 70 books in 2013, if you count shorts and novellas, plus another 18 for contest judging, so I still fell short of the 100-book goal I set for myself. That’s not an issue per se. But I had a few months this year where I had so many other commitments that I didn’t really read purely for pleasure, which made even reading for my book club feel like a chore.

I’d like to set aside more time to just read for fun. That will certainly help with Goal #4.

This is on top of the usual “write a really good novel” and “learn something new” goals I usually set for myself.

So there’s a short list of what I aspire to in 2014. Do you have any resolutions?

five things on friday—last one for a while

I like doing this weekly wrap-up posts, but I’m currently hella busy and also have TWO books to promote over the next few weeks. I will probably continue to throw some spaghetti at the blog wall on Fridays for the next two months, but not do a whole five things post again until probably late October.

(Also, I’ve been watching a lot of the Food Network, and now can’t even type “spaghetti” without thinking about the weird way Giada Di Laurentis says it, which is probably accurate, but I grew up in North Jersey where Italians eat pro-shoot and mooz-a-rell and ri-cahd-da cheese, so it always sounds weird. Did any of you watch the admittedly boring latest season of Next Food Network Star? Did you noticed how Alton Brown sometimes subtly makes fun of the way she pronounces pasta dishes? More evidence that Alton Brown is the best. But anyway…)

Before I get into it, ANNOUNCEMENT: If you’re in the greater New York Metropolitan Area, I will again be signing at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 22nd. I’ll post details next week.

Here are five things that happened in the last week, in no particular order:

1. Maybe you didn’t hear, but New York City had an election? Ha, well, as an actual resident of the City of New York, I got up early Tuesday to go vote in the primary. This is low stakes if you live outside the city, despite all the national news coverage, and I have a policy of not really talking about politics here, but I will say I did get totally sucked into the coverage on NY1 Tuesday night. For the uninitiated, NY1 is the local 24-hour news channel. When I first moved to the city, it was delightfully low budget. (The station Robin works for in the early seasons of How I Met Your Mother is clearly patterned after NY1, right down to the guy who reads headlines from the local papers, except in real life, that guy is awesome.)

2. I was in Philly last weekend for tourism and the consumption of delicious meals at nice but moderately priced restaurants. (You live in New York long enough, the price of things in other cities start to seem like a bargain.) It was a nice trip. I took my mother, who wanted to go see the Battleship New Jersey, which is parked on the Camden side of the Delaware River. We did the self-guided tour and saw some for-real actual sailors! They seemed to be on the boat for some kind of ceremony followed by training exercises. My mom went on all day about how cute the white sailor uniforms are. We spent time in actual Philadelphia, too, mostly nerding out at historical sights. The weather was great, which certainly didn’t hurt anything.

3. I’m reading almost exclusively nonfiction right now, but the stuff I’m reading is giving me all manner of story ideas. Which is problematic, because I’ve got other stuff I need to finish first. That’s always the way. I get some of my best ideas when I’m on deadline.

4. Last night, I went to the Golden Apple Awards, which is the annual awards reception for the NYC RWA chapter. I schmoozed, I drank wine, I chatted with friends. It was really fun. Plus, the event was held in an upper-floor conference room at the Flatiron building on the front pointy side with a fabulous view of Madison Square Park. That was really cool for me; as an armchair architecture nerd, it was exciting to go inside such an iconic building.

5. As you may or may not know, I’m helping plan the writers workshop portion of GayRomLit in October, so I spent part of this week organizing my info on editors and agents. One thing that I think is really awesome is the number of editors/publishers/agents who are interested in books across the whole LGBT spectrum, not just m/m. There’s certainly room in the marketplace for everyone, and I believe there are readers out there for all manner of books, so I hope we get some fantastic breakout books in the next couple of years.

five things on friday

I have been remiss in doing these wrap-up posts all summer! The cause is a strange combination of either being too busy to post or just not having much going on. More of the former, honestly; August just zoomed on by and then was over and I was left crying all, “But, Mom, I don’t want to go to school.” Even though I was totally that kid who got all giddy right before school started, although this was in part because I love shopping and a new school year obviously meant that I had to buy cute clothes and school supplies. (I still remember the outfit I wore on my first day of high school. I bought the exact outfit that was on a mannequin at Nordstrom’s, and it involved plaid pants because it was the 90s. Incidentally, all the hipster girls in Brooklyn are dressing now the way I did then—lots of ugly floral dresses paired with clunky boots—and it is freaking me out.) (Also, I still get excited about school supplies. Who has two thumbs and bought special pens just for book signings? This girl.)

Anyway! I have news and also thoughts on things, so here are 5 items of interest, in no particular order:

1. If you missed the Twitter announcement, The Stars that Tremble is now available for pre-order! The book is out 9/30.

2. I’m skipping town this weekend. Well, I’m taking my mom to Philly as a birthday present. My immediate family has lived on the East Coast for thirty years—and for a while, we lived in the part of Jersey that is spitting distance from Philly—and somehow my mother, a history buff, has never been. So we’re gonna go be nerds together. My brother and his wife are joining us later in the weekend, and it will basically be a history nerd convention. (True story: My brother finished a masters in history earlier this year and now does historical tours of New York City.)

3. My roommate went to Europe last week and I tried to curb my intense jealousy by watching all 15 hours of the Simon Schama History of Britain documentary. Now I really want to go to the UK. The documentary is really good if you like history documentaries; Schama has a dry sense of humor that I enjoyed and I learned a lot of new things. But even in 15 hours, there was a lot of stuff that got skipped or glossed over. And it was still a poor substitute for actually going to Europe. (At least my roommate brought me back a box of chocolates from Buckingham Palace. They’re very fancy.)

I also watched a PBS American Experience episode about the Stonewall riots that is worth your time. It’s available streaming. (I watched it on Amazon Prime video.)

4. I’m reading mostly nonfiction lately, too. Maybe I really do miss school! Right now, I’m reading a book about NYC in the bad old days of the 1960s. It’s giving me lots of story ideas, but I’m nervous about writing about a period of time that people still living remember but about which I have no first-hand knowledge. I’d hate to get something egregiously wrong. I’m also about halfway through a book on prostitution in New York in the 19th Century. So much sin in the Big Apple!

I’ve got a lot of train riding on the schedule for this weekend, so lots of reading time. I packed 2 books and my iPad, which should be sufficient. (I have a weird phobia about being stuck somewhere with nothing to read.)

5. Some of my GRL swag got delivered this week. So far, I have bookmarks, pin-back buttons, and a big sign for my signing table. I’m trying to come up with an awesome one-of-a-kind, everybody-will-want swag item, but I’m not thinking up anything (or at least, I haven’t come up with anything that won’t blow my budget). Swag is so hard. I don’t want to spend money on something that will swiftly end up in the trash. What will people actually keep?

5 things on friday are coming soon

I usually use this space to wrap-up my week, talking about 5 things I’ve been doing or reading or thinking about. Since I’ve had a not terribly exciting week, I thought I would instead talk about 5 writing projects I’m working on. Most of these are not contracted yet, so these are like sneaky-sneaky previews of what you may see in 2014 and 2015.

1. Let’s get the upcoming publications out of the way first. Due out this fall from Dreamspinner:

One Man to Remember—[part of the Playing Ball anthology I'm doing with Shae Connor, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe (2/3 of whom I got to see in Atlanta last week!] This is a historical novella set in 1927 (my first published historical, you guys!) in which a talented but media-shy rookie falls in love with a flamboyant sports reporter.

The Stars that Tremble—Here’s hoping readers feel about opera the same way they did about baseball—this is an emotional opposites attract romance between a former opera star and a contractor who renovates kitchens.

More detailed blurbs for both of these are available on the upcoming page.

2. I’ve written here before about how I suck at writing sequels. I often sit down to write one, get 5 or 6,000 words into it, and then lose all interest. Books for which I have done this: I started a sequel to In Hot Pursuit in which one hero is Noah’s police partner and is tasked with tracking down Harry’s infant nephew while also hooking up with a sexy FBI agent; Neal from The Boy Next Door was always supposed to have his own book, but I don’t have it quite right yet; there’s a sequel to Blind Items in which Drew and Rey produce a play together and there’s a subplot about the lead actor. After I kept crashing and burning with the TBND sequel, I swore off sequels, but people were clamoring for something after Blind Items. (And I get it. The book ends at a specific moment and I thought the story was over, but after the fact I regretted not writing an epilogue. Things work out for Drew and Jonathan! I promise!)

Anyhoo. Here we are again. I put a character in The Stars that Tremble named Sandy, and he sort of took over every scene he’s in, and I cannot deny that the epilogue is deliberately kind of sequel-bait-y, and… well, you’ll see. And then every single person, from betas to editors, who has breathed near the manuscript has been like, “When does Sandy get his own book? I want that yesterday!” So, fine, Sandy is getting his own book. I’ve written about 10,000 words of it so far. So I broke the 6K wall!

The gist: Sandy is a veteran of the global war on terror. He received a medical discharge from the army after he took some shrapnel to the should when he ran into a car bomb in Afghanistan. (I think. I’m still kind of working out this part.) So he’s got some PTSD but is in deep denial about having PTSD and he uses humor and his sunny personality to deflect attention from the fact that he’s hurting pretty badly inside. He meets a super hot violinist named Everett and they start fucking and it’s supposed to just be fun until feelings get involved. And then we have some sweet, delicious conflict.

I think the world of the Olcott School, where Gio from The Stars that Tremble and Everett from the unnamed sequel are both teachers, could be ripe for stories. There could be a New Adult story involving musical prodigies, for example. Lots of possibilities! So we’ll see about that.

3. I’m finishing up a Jazz Age historical about a vaudeville dancer and a mid-level Mob boss that’s a lot darker than the stuff I usually write. I’m so glad I’m in the home stretch with this one, because I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now. (So much research! Although that’s part of why I was able to write One Man to Remember quickly; I had a lot of the period research in my brain already.) I don’t have a title yet, and this has been the source of much contemplation and agony on my part, but soon, my pretties, soon I will have something more to say about that, I hope.

4. I started writing this crazy contemporary about a month ago that’s an angsty friends-to-lovers set in New York. It has some Unpopular Themes. I feel like this is my, “Just as everyone started complaining about Trope 1 and Trope 2 in romance novel, I got this plot bunny that includes all of them!” novel. So!

5. At RWA, I attended a workshop taught by two of my favorite authors, Eloisa James and Sarah MacLean, on writing series, which I’ve never seriously attempted but very much want to. I mentioned as much to Damon Suede later that evening, and he was like, “You’re the baseball girl. You should write a baseball series.” And then we ran with that. So on Tuesday, I bought a new notebook and started mapping out what I want the series to look like. I think the only way to do this successfully is to actually plan at least the first three books. And because I’m a plotter and NOT a pantser, I plan to outline those suckers first. So I’ve got part of an outline for the first book in a series about a gay amateur baseball league.

So that is the state of my WIPs!

five things? five things!

Hey, it’s Friday. Let’s wrap up the week.

BMMmzbmCUAA7N6N.jpg_large1. What There Is will be available July 31 and is available for pre-order now from the Dreamspinner site. It’s kind of my take on a jock-nerd romance. There’s baseball and cooking and statistics geekery. It’s only 15,000 words, so it’s more a tasty snack than a meal, but I hope you all enjoy it!

2. I hope you Americans all had a fabulous 4th of July. Mine’s pretty low-key, because I have a ton of work to do, but I’m enjoying the four-day weekend. :)

3. I like this quote from Mark Twain that I found yesterday:

My books are water: those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water.

I think you could make a similar analogy between genre fiction and literary fiction. (Genre fiction is water. Which is still awesome and essential.)

4. So edits for BOTH of my fall releases came in this week so I am DOING ALL THE EDITS. Luckily, the editor seems to have really loved my historical baseball novella, One Man to Remember, which will be available as part of the anthology I’m doing with Shae Connor, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe. So that’s been relatively painless. But baseball + the Jazz Age = giddy Kate, so I had fun writing it. Hopefully that shows.

I haven’t looked at the edits for The Stars that Tremble yet; that’s a full novel about a former opera singer who falls for a blue-collar guy and there’s a LOT of opera in it (file under: semi-obscure things Kate is nerdy about).

Tangent: the cable channel H2 has a series called “How Sex Changed the World”; there was a recent episode that had a segment on castrati, or opera singers who were castrated pre-puberty. The lack of testosterone meant these men were quite effeminate—softer features, high voices—but they also were treated like rock stars (in other words, fame and lots of sex) all across Europe. I bet if it weren’t so barbaric, that would still get some mileage today. My mother is on the board of directors for a choir that performed an oratorio last year or the year before that had a solo part written for castrato. They hired this guy who is a high tenor but could still hit all the notes (as far as I know, his equipment was still in tact). All the women in the choir were totally in love with him. Even my mom fangirled a little at the post-concert cocktail reception. So there you go.

5. I’m sitting on a post about writing, let’s say, unpopular themes. I just churned out 45,000 words of ANGST in about two and a half weeks, and it was tough for me to turn off the voice in my head that was like, “But your readers will hate this,” but I plowed forward anyway, and I really love this story and these characters. Like, I had to finish the first draft yesterday morning before I could move on to working on stuff for my more pressing deadlines.

Given the latest Internet kerfuffle in the m/m world, I thought it was especially relevant to talk about, but I don’t have the time to give it the thought it needs at the moment. Maybe I’ll get that up next week when I have less on my plate. Generally, I think it’s better for writers to push boundaries and try new things and, yes, maybe write books people don’t like so that we don’t just get the same book over and over again.

five things on friday

Weekly wrap-up!

1. Well, the big news this week was obviously the SCOTUS decisions. I normally stay out of politics when in my authorial persona, but I think the death of DOMA is something we can all celebrate. Especially here in New York! If I remember correctly, the New York legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage right before Pride weekend two years ago, and now all of those marriages that have formed as a result are legal in the eyes of the federal government, and that is such great, great news. It feels like tangible progress. I’m anticipating a lot of partying in New York this weekend.

(c) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

(c) The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2. I went to see the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit at the Met last weekend. It wasn’t my favorite Met fashion exhibit (and I’ve seen a lot of them) but it had its moments. The criticism I’ve heard from friends of mine who have seen it is that it’s too polished and/or it seems silly to look at ripped tee-shirts and jeans in a museum, but I think there’s something to be said for the absurdity of, say, an Alexander McQueen gown made of silk rendered to resemble bubble wrap. (I thought that was cool, anyway.)

The exhibit has a recreation of the bathroom at CBGB’s right near the entrance. I remarked out loud that it looked too clean. My sister-in-law, who was with me, commented that she had been to one of the last CBGB’s shows (her uncle was the drummer in a NYC-based punk band in the 70s that you’ve probably heard of if you follow punk music) and the bathroom was so gross no one would even go inside. This gay couple examining the display turned to us and one of them said, “Oh, honey, we were at one of the first shows at CBGBs. It always looked like that.” (Lots of photos here.)

3. I got galleys for What There Is this week, so I’m having some, “Wow, it feels like a real book!” feelings. Although, fair warning, this is really a 15,000-word short story. Everyone who has read it so far has basically been like, “Cute story, bro.” So while it’s not the meatiest story I’ve ever put out there, I’m thinking this will tide y’all over until my next novel comes out in the fall.

4. Speaking of, I got the cover spec sheet for The Stars that Tremble, so I will spend the weekend agonizing over that.

5. I made bookmarks, too. I was going to post proofs here, but one of them has an issue I have to fix when Photoshop and I have some time to spend together. It’s one of those things probably only I notice, but when I look at the bookmark back, it’s all I can see.

In other news, I cut my finger a couple of days ago, and while it’s not very deep, it bled A LOT, and I’m really squeamish, so I almost passed out, and that was fun. The injury is safely ensconced in a band-aid now, although having a band-aid on one’s dominant-hand ring finger is a pain-in-the-ass, let me tell you. At least the cut is on the side of my finger with the nail, because if it were on the side of the finger that has to touch a keyboard regularly, I’d have some issue.

It’s like the time I broke my pinkie toe, which is minor in the grand scheme of injuries, although it hurt like hell, and OF COURSE that was the week everything I had to do was really far from the subway. I spent a lot of money on cabs that week. At least a boo-boo on my finger just requires some band-aids. Although this was how I learned that the plastic box I call a “first-aid kit” in my apartment is basically just oddly shaped band-aids and an old tube of Neosporin. So if I ever really injure myself, I’m SOL.

I’m having some issues with my current WIP, so I figured I’d make another post about that. But in the meantime, have a great weekend, and if you are in a city with Pride celebrations going on now, Happy Pride!

five things: win a book!

Weekly wrap up!

BGW400x2001. This week’s stops on the Big Gay Wedding Tour include:

• Romance Lives Forever
Kay Berrisford

I also posted to the RWA NYC blog.

You can comment in any of these places to enter to win a copy of the book. I think these will all be open at least through the end of the weekend.

2. Second edits on What There Is went back last night and I got an email that The Stars that Tremble is next up in the queue, so I’m a busy bee. I’m also alternating work on 2 other WIPs. I like it, though! It’s a little crazy-making to have so many projects going at once, but I’m enjoying it.

3. Thing I Learned This Week: I talked one of my co-workers into giving me a crash course on Adobe Illustrator, and had a “Wow, this does all the things I wish Photoshop did!” moment. I don’t think of myself as a designer really, but I do a lot of my own graphics (for the website and for swag; I did the Big Gay Wedding Tour banners, too). So that is useful information.

4. So True Blood has gone totally off the rails, huh? The show has always had a certain trashy charm, but some of these storylines have gone in some crazy directions, and I just don’t know anymore. Why can’t I quit you, sexy vampires?

5. My RWA swag came in the mail last night. Just postcards, nothing super exciting. I’m working on my swag plan for GRL—there will be cool stuff, I promise! I’m thinking about making my own plushy baseballs. We’ll see how that goes!

five things on friday

This is a drowsy five things. I’m really tired. Zzz. But here’s what happened this week:

1. Thanks to everyone who bought and read Save the Date! It got all the way up to #2 on the All Romance eBooks bestseller list and has been on the Amazon top 100 for Gay Romance for the last week and a half or so, which I appreciate. I hope you all are liking the book!

BMMmzbmCUAA7N6N.jpg_large2. What There Is has a gorgeous cover done by L.C. Chase. Look for that (I think) next month. I just finished first edits on Monday. It’s a short (about 15K words) fluffy, sweet story, mostly about a guy who can’t play baseball anymore.

3. Ripped from the headlines: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here before, but one of my childhood best friends is currently DOMA exiled (he spent some time post-college gallivanting around Europe and fell in love with a Czech man; they currently live together in a large European city because the husband couldn’t get a visa to stay in the US). He’s been on my mind as the new immigration bill gets debated; I miss him a lot but totally get why he doesn’t want to live in the States.

4. I’m apparently procrastinating from my actual deadline by writing a new story, a contemporary that is super angsty! But my other WIP is a historical, which I am doggedly pursuing despite the fact that everyone is telling me the historical is dead. Which I suppose brings to mind the age-old problem of writing whatever the hell you want without regard for how much money you’ll make (which is generally how I try to operate, although the royalty checks are NICE, don’t get me wrong) and trying to have realistic expectations versus doing what the market demands. I can tell you I do a lot better with contemporaries than paranormals, but I’m not really known as a paranormal author, and I feel like Across the East River Bridge and Show and Tell are light in the paranormal elements. (AERB remains one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, though.) I dunno. I love historicals; you may have gleaned from reading AERB that I’m also a huge history nerd, so I suppose those go hand-in-hand.

5. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately. Currently I’m wending my way through a history of Regency England (Our Tempestuous Day) and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, both of which are really enjoyable in different ways.

five things on friday: BEA and Save the Date

Weekly wrap-up!

1. Save the Date came out on Tuesday! It is now available at most ebook retailers. *dances*

2. It’s Kate McMurray Week at the Armchair Reader. Cole has bravely embarked on the task of reading my entire backlist. We also did an interview that was posted yesterday. Follow the link to all of the posts and leave a comment on the interview to win a copy of the book.

3. Other places I have been this week:

• I wrote a post for the All Romance eBooks cafe blog for Pride Month
• I guest-posted at Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House.
• Today I’m at Flirty Author Bitches.

*The last two are stops on the Big Gay Wedding tour. Leave a comment at either to be entered to win a copy of Save the Date.

4. I missed posting last Friday because I was at Book Expo America. It was an interesting experience. Plenty of people have wrapped it up better than me, but I can tell you what I did there, which was a) sweat a lot because, as a friend of mine said, it was hot as balls outside; b) gave away a ton of books at the Dreamspinner booth; c) got some really amazing books and ARCs from around the exhibition hall; d) made some good editorial contacts; e) hung out with some awesome people; f) fangirled on some authors; g) saw celebrities, including Chelsea Handler, Julianne Moore, and Grumpy Cat.

5. I’m currently working on edits for What There Is, a short novella coming out this summer. It started out as a baseball story, but it ended up being about a former baseball player who wants to find something else to do with his life. It’s been a little bit of a struggle because I’ve been out for the count with a nasty cold most of the week, but I’m feeling much better today so I can concentrate on these edits. I saw a cover mock up yesterday and it’s gorgeous.

And that’s a wrap for this week. See you next week!

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.