a little about Four Corners

My next novel Four Corners will be available this Wednesday. (Feel free to tide yourselves over by gazing at the lovely cover by LC Chase, because I have totally been doing that.)

Since I haven’t had the opportunity to talk much about the book yet, I figured I’d give you guys a little preview.

Four Corners is narrated by Jake, a thirty-year-old openly gay man in Chicago. His childhood best friend Adam skipped town five years ago without a word, leaving Jake confused and heartbroken. Adam shows up again on the first page of the novel. Jake doesn’t want anything to do with him at first, but caves when Adam persists in asking for them to get together to “talk.” Jake tells the story of his relationship with Adam when they were kids, from their days on the town’s Little League team through their early twenties when they were first trying on adulthood. Then, of course, he tells what happens when Adam comes back.

I don’t know why, but I have always loved the friends-to-lovers/reunited lovers trope. (You, uh, may have noticed.) I’m not sure why; it’s not like I’m still carrying a torch for anyone. It might just be one of those things; I like writing about friendship, and I think there is a lot of intimacy in close friendships, so if two friends are attracted to each other, it’s not a great leap to love from there. (Of course, to make a compelling story, I as a writer have to throw a bunch of road blocks between the friends.)

Jake and Adam grew up across an intersection from each other in the Chicago suburbs. Jake came from a liberal Jewish family, Adam from a conservative Catholic family. Jake was doted on by his parents, Adam had to compete for attention with his five siblings. Jake doesn’t like to leave his comfort zone, Adam likes to take risks. The two men are different in a lot of ways, but they share a lot of common bonds, too, share a deep affection for each other that was founded when they were very young. The novel is an exploration of similarities and differences and how two people can find their way together.

The novel is about friendship, too. The title refers to a few different things, but most of all, it refers to the four corners of a baseball diamond, and Jake, Adam, and their friends Kyle and Brendan once made up the four bases of their high school team, which formed a bond that survived into adulthood. Brendan and Kyle have issues of their own, both related to Adam’s leaving town and to their lives since Adam left.

So that’s a little about the book. It will be available on Wednesday, August 8 from Dreamspinner Press!

five things on friday

My Olympics boyfriend. *swoon*

Here’s my weekly roundup of things I am up to:

1. Watching! So much Olympics! I love it and I’m obsessing. This year seems to have a lot of man candy. I’ve decided swimmer Ryan Lochte is the dreamiest, although he has some tough competition. But swimming is one of my favorite things to watch, primarily because it was basically the only athletic thing I did as a kid. I started taking lessons as a very young child, did a lot of swimming at the Y and summer camp after that, went through lifeguard training and taught kids how to swim when I was a teenager. (And I swam so many laps. I was sixteen or so when I took that lifeguard class with a bunch of other teenagers, and our instructor got so frustrated with us goofing around that he made us swim laps when he got fed up, which was often.)

In indoor volleyball, it seems to be a requirement to have a group hug whenever you score a point. Best sport ever!

Surprise favorite sports for me: I got really into a couple of the men’s volleyball games that I watched, surprising mostly because I usually find the team sports dreadfully boring, but volleyball is actually pretty fun. (Indoor volleball, I should clarrify—stop trying to make beach volleyball happen, NBC. I still don’t care about it.) Also, watching the men’s synchro diving gave me some pantsfeelings, but you’ve probably seen both the plethora of photos of British diver Tom Daley, and you’ve also probably seen the Olympics or Gay Porn meme going around. (Hot guys in tiny swimsuits is all I’m saying.)

But I like watching the women, too. How thrilling was women’s gymnastics? So often, it boils down to winning a medal despite making a “catastrophic” error, but Gabby Douglas got that gold medal by putting up 4 solid routines without major errors, and it was really fun to watch.

Humans in peak physical condition is the bottom line. So much fun. (Also, check this out: What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball? Mildly NSFW.)

2. Doing! I will admit that I’m probably channeling a lot of energy into watching the Olympics because this week has kind of sucked otherwise. (But it’s so triumphant! The trumpets in the theme song! The human interest stories! Hot guys in tiny bathing suits!)

For the last two months, I’ve been working on this insane project at my day job that is finally FINALLY ending today. Not to be whiny about it, but it’s been a lot of 10+ hour days and stress and it’s kept me from writing and a bunch of other things I’d like to be doing. I’m looking forward to this month being more focused on me and my own projects.

But this weekend is for recovery, especially since I had to work most of last weekend. Thus it will involve a lot of laying on my couch watching TV. Maybe also some writing. First, though, I’m doing a little presentation at the meeting for my local RWA chapter tomorrow and will hopefully sell a couple of books.

3. Reading! We will not discuss the sad lack of forward progress on my reading this week, but I have been listening to a lot of history-related podcasts, including one yesterday about Oscar Wilde, so now I’m thinking of actually reading this book, which has been on my nightstand for a couple of months. (Earlier this year, I read Jonathan Ned Katz’s book Love Stories, which is similarly themed—about gay relationships in the 19th century—but this book Strangers has a wider scope. Love Stories is focused more on American men, Strangers seems to be focused on men and women in the US and Europe. Which is relevant to my interests because I’ve got this Victorian historical set in London I want to write.)

4. Linking! Worth reading: I really liked this post at Jessewave by Angela Bendetti called What does love look like?

5. Promoting! Four Corners will be out on the 8th! I keep meaning to put up a post with some background info but haven’t had time to write it yet. I’ll be guest blogging in a couple of places this month (although I just haven’t had time to put together a tour like I did for Out in the Field, so I’m only gonna be on a few sites).

But! This week you can enter to win a copy at Stumbling Over Chaos.

Bonus Discussion Question: At the office this morning, we were talking about animals that live in stores, in particular bodega cats in New York. (I don’t know how this became common parlance, but in NYC, every little corner convenience store is called a bodega, even if the owners aren’t Spanish speakers. The Korean grocery near my office is pretty commonly referred to as “the bodega,” for example. And a lot of them have cats living in them.) So what is the common store-dwelling animal where you live?

five things on friday

Thursday was insane and stressful and I’m glad it’s over! Let’s Friday it up!

1. Saying! The obvious headline is the article on m/m in RT. I had the opportunity to talk to the author of the article a couple of months ago, so she quoted me, along with Damon Suede, Heidi Cullinan, Kate Douglas, Josh Lanyon, and some others. The article is pretty great and you should check it out.

2. Reading! I finally finished Game of Thrones and am about 150 pages into Clash of Kings and I’m liking it. If I can find the time, I want to also read one of the, like, 15 romance novels I’ve downloaded in the last month. (Amazon sent me a, “You should review your recent purchases!” email yesterday, and I realized I hadn’t read a single one of the books listed yet. I should get on that!)

3. Writing! Reviewed proofs for Four Corners this week. I have that pre-release jumble of emotions, simultaneously elated and incredibly nervous. (I’m really pleased with the book and I’m excited for it to be published, but I always fret about how my new books will be received.)

I have a whole list of new ideas. I’m hoping for more free time in August to pursue them.

4. Doing! Earlier this week, a friend of mine had an “I quit my job to get an MFA!” party in the East Village. The party was at a nice bar on Avenue C. I can’t think of the last time I was that far east in Manhattan. Here’s your bit of insider New Yorker knowledge: I hate going to the East Village because it’s really inconvenient, subway-wise. This was the sort of special occasion I make an exception for, and I’m really psyched for my friend (also kind of jealous, because if I could afford to quit my job to focus on my writing, I would do it in a hot minute). Anyway, I walked East on Houston on a hot night and reflected on how different and weird and outside of my usual zone it was. That’s the funny thing about New York; most residents stay in their section of the city and don’t venture out of it much. That I both live and work in the same part of Brooklyn means I don’t leave a 2 mile radius all that often. It’s kind of sad, now that I think about it. So hooray for friends making me go places I don’t usually go! There’s a whole big city out there!

I’m also pretty psyched for the Olympics. I like sports! I’m going to watch as much of the coverage as I can, and I’ve got TWO Olympics-related apps on my phone. My favorite things to watch are gymnastics, diving, track, and swimming (how hot are swimmers?) but I usually also pick some random sport to follow, and this year, I think it’s going to be women’s weightlifting, because how great is Sarah Robles? So great! Strongest woman in the US!

5. Linking! Lead Us Not got a nice review from Rainbow Book Reviews. That story is still totally free. You can click on the book cover in the sidebar to get to the download links.

That’s it! Until next week…

Coming Soon: Four Corners

My next book will be available for your reading pleasure on August 8! (That seems really soon!) Here’s the blurb:

Since childhood, Jake, Adam, Kyle, and Brendan have been teammates, best friends, brothers. Then one day, when they were twenty-five, Adam disappeared without a word, devastating his friends—none more so than Jake, who had secretly loved Adam since they were teenagers.

Now, five years later, Adam is back, and he has his mind set on Jake. But those years of anger, hurt, and confusion are a lot to overcome, and Jake doesn’t find it easy to forgive. He isn’t sure they’ll ever fit together the way they did. Jake, Kyle, and Brendan have moved on with their lives, but Adam’s high-profile career keeps him in the closet—the same place he’s been for years. Still, his apologies seem sincere, and the attraction is still there. Jake desperately wants to give him a chance. But first he has to find out why Adam left and if he’s really back for good.

Available at Dreamspinner Press.

I’ll have more to say as the release date gets closer. Woo!

coming attractions

I had an especially prolific period last spring and summer, and that seems to bearing out in fruitful ways! I’ve updated the website with the sneakiest of sneak peaks of TWO upcoming books by yours truly.

This is Cap Anson, one of the greatest baseball players of the late 19th century and also owner of a fantastic handlebar mustache.

Out in the Field, a contemporary romance between two major-league baseball players, will be available from Loose Id on April 24th. (The link will take you to the under-construction book page, at which you can read a blurb.) It’s a fun story, but there’s a lot of heart in it, too. (And a lot of baseball, but my beta reader ensures me that a lack of knowledge of the sport will not prevent one from enjoying the novel.)

Also, the ink is drying on a contract for what, on Twitter, I called an angsty friends-to-lovers contemporary set in Chicago. I think that about sums it up. There’s a little blurb on the Upcoming page. That’s due out August/September-ish. I’ll talk more about that when we get closer to the release date.

The reading at Lady Jane’s Salon on Monday went pretty well, I thought. (I’ve had A WEEK, so I haven’t had time to write about it sooner than now.) I may have a couple of photos to post soon. I will say that it is a very strange experience to get up in front of a bunch of people who don’t know you and figure out how to charm them. I’m not a shy person and I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking, but I’m not the sort of person who gets a thrill from being on stage, so really, “nothing bad happening” was my goal. I can’t judge my own reading, but I got enough positive feedback to convince me I did all right.

I’m reading again at the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC, which is two weeks from today. If you are anywhere in the greater New York metropolitan area, you should come by. A lot of great authors will be there. (I’m actually probably the most excited about that—a bunch of authors I really like are coming to my fair city for a weekend, so I can be a fangirl without having to pay for more than subway fare.)

So that’s all the news fit to print around here. Now I’m off to start making a book trailer for Out in the Field!