A note on the All Romance eBooks closure

All Romance eBooks announced yesterday that they are closing abruptly on December 31 and will not be paying authors for sales after 12/27, so I decided to pull my self-published titles from the site. Here’s what that may mean for you:

Lead Us Not is a free short that was available for download on ARe, but also here on the website. If you follow the link, you can find the story for download in a few different formats.

Across the East River Bridge is still available for purchase from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iBooks. If you purchased the book from ARe and were unable to download it before I pulled it, send me proof of purchase (kate (at) katemcmurray (dot) com) and I’ll send you the book.

There Has to Be a Reason (which will be published on January 9) went up for preorder on ARe last week. If you preordered, Dreamspinner will honor your preorder; forward your receipt to contact (at) dreamspinner (dot) com.

I think that covers it. If you have any questions, shoot me an email or leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them.

five things: happy holidays!

I always thought there was something kind of quaint and Victorian about Brooklyn during the holidays.

I always thought there was something kind of quaint and Victorian about Brooklyn during the holidays.

Weekly wrap-up!

1. It has been a little tough to get into the holiday spirit this year. Not for any specific reason, it just… doesn’t feel like the holidays. Maybe I haven’t listened to enough Christmas music, or maybe I did myself a disservice by doing ALL of my shopping online, but… it’s tough to get into that headspace for me right now.

This has not always been the case. The first five years I lived in New York, I worked for a major publishing company with an office in Midtown, not far from Rockefeller Center, and that is a place where the holidays basically hit you in the face. I could have done without the crowds, but I liked all the decorations, the lights, the buskers playing “Silver Bells” on saxophones, all of that. I always thought there was something magical—and tourist-y and commercial, sure, but generally magical—about New York at Christmas. I think my early years in New York were characterized by a lot of wide-eyed, “People come from all over the world to see this, but I live here.” Perhaps now that I’ve lived here for ten years I am a little long in the tooth, a little more cynical, a little less awed by the same old stuff every year. But I find the idea that this city might not still capture my imagination the way it used to a little depressing.

So, come on, New York. You’ve got, like, four days to do something impressive!

2. Although, speaking of New York at Christmas, I went out last Saturday night and ran into Santa Con, an annual… thing… in NYC wherein hundreds of people dress in Santa suits. Normally I think it’s cute, and there’s something really funny to me about a proliferation of Santas in the city, but I’m less impressed when the influx of red-suited individuals causes there to be a wait for a table at a restaurant that’s usually not crowded on Saturdays.

Not the most action-packed week otherwise. I went to a couple of holiday parties and watched a lot of the Food Network. (I am so hooked on Restaurant: Impossible. It was my binge watching of Pawn Stars last summer that partly inspired Show and Tell, so maybe watching Robert Irvine be all cranky and British as he rehabilitates failing restaurants will inspire me to write a story. WE’LL SEE.)

3. Speaking of writing, I started a new story that is a play on a favorite trope of mine, someone world-famous paired with a regular guy. Writing it is going very well. I’m hoping to spend a lot of the next week on that.

4. You can take a look at my last few posts for newsy things, but to recap:

Out in the Field and Lead Us Not were nominated for a couple of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Members Choice Awards, and that is quite awesome.
• I’m going to be posting some “deleted scenes” from my upcoming book Show and Tell over the next couple of weeks. These are flashbacks to past lives, basically, and I had to cut them from the novel because they were messing with the pacing, but I still really like the scenes, so I got permission to post them here as free shorts. I hope they serve as a dirty tease for the new book. 😉
• I tinkered some with the website last weekend. Changes are subtle, but I consolidated my social media links in the sidebar, I added buttons so you can share blog posts on various social networking sites, and I fiddled with a minor banner redesign—now with cute boys! (Fun trivia fact: the photo of the guy gazing out the window features the New York skyline. I realized after I downloaded the high-res image that the skyline is backward! Ha! Thanks, stock agency, for your silly Photoshop fail. Still a nice image, though.)

5. Well, that’s all I got this week. Happiest of happy days to you and yours!

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…

reviews and things

Good news first: “Lead Us Not” got a five-star review from The Novel Approach.

It’s enough to give a girl a complex about self-publishing. I swore up and down for a long time that I didn’t want to do it. It’s so much work—hiring editors and designers, converting files, distribution. I got a taste of that here in a micro scale, and it wasn’t so bad. So now I don’t know. I’ve got a couple of other shorts languishing on my hard drive. Maybe I’ll polish them up and make them available for $0.99 or something. (I think for novel-length work, I’d still want to go with a publisher.)

Also good: Out in the Field got a 4-star review from The Romance Reviews. That was pretty swell.

I’m hoping to spend a good chunk of this summer focusing on my writing. I started a bunch of new things this winter that I never got around to finishing. So I’m excited about that. You should be, too, because that means hopefully more books next year! My problem right now is deciding where to focus—I think contemporaries are my bread-and-butter, but I’ve got a few historicals that I’ve started and I have this insane idea for an epic fantasy. I KNOW! It keeps things interesting, though.

Love Is Always Write — Lead Us Not

My story for the M/M Romance Goodreads group‘s Love Is Always Write event, called “Lead Us Not,” is now available. Check out my book page for it, where you can download it in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF for all your e-reader needs. Sometime this week it will also be available at Goodreads and ARe.

A few notes on the story: When I decided to participate in Love Is Always Write, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be writing for a publisher, so I had some room to experiment a little. Which is not to say I didn’t take the challenge seriously! It also occurred to me that that this could be the gateway to my writing, that some people who have never read my books or never heard of me could be reading the story, and I needed to make a positive first impression. But this is also the story I wanted to write, and as such, I’m committing two cardinal sins: the story is told in alternating first-person narratives, and it’s told in present tense.

I know. But I wrote the first chapter almost immediately after I got my prompt, and Jess’s voice was so clear in my head that I just… wrote it. But I knew I needed Sam’s POV, too. So, that is what the story became. Probably some readers won’t like it, but I do know that I really like this story. It’s got some of my better writing, it’s very New York-y, and I really love these characters.

It was based on this prompt:

These guys have known each other since college. They fell in love and went to New York to follow their dreams of being models and actors. They thought nothing could break them apart, but life is filled with temptations. Can these two remain true to each other or will fame tear them apart forever (please HEA story only, and I don’t approve of cheating, but if it happens I hope that two lovers can find a way to resolve things).

So, challenge accepted, I wrote a story called “Lead Us Not,” and it is about temptation. Then I asked my fabulous friend Alexis to design the cover. I love the cover so much.

The blurb:

When Sam and Jess set out for New York City, they were young, deeply in love, and had big dreams for the future. Four difficult years later, some of those dreams are starting to come true—but at what cost?

Jess has stumbled into a fairly successful modeling career, but it feels like a consolation prize after his failed attempt at acting. He knows too his good looks will only last so long and he wants to try something else, but Sam keeps talking him out of it. Sam just landed the lead in a Broadway revival and all of his hard work is finally paying off, but lately Jess seems to be slipping away from him. Just as strains and cracks begin to show in their relationship, temptations are dangled in front of both men, but will they take the bait or will they come back to each other?

You can drop me a comment in the group thread about the story.

when I’m not working, this is what I’m doing right now…

I don’t mean to be one of those writers who is all, “Gah, I’m too busy to blog, I’ll be with you in a moment!” but that is sort of the purpose of this post. I try to update the blog once a week or so, but, man, I have been so swamped lately. So in an attempt to not make things boring, a few bullet points:

• I wrote a short story for the Goodreads m/m romance group’s Love Is Always Write event, and that will go live… sometime in June. (I know the date, but it’s a surprise! Shh.) A fabulous artist friend of mine is designing a cover. More on that soon!

• I hit some kind of weird saturation point last week wherein, after reading a number of really excellent romance novels in a row, I just… didn’t want to read about romance anymore. Weird! That doesn’t often happen! I’m not sure why that happened. So for something completely different, I’m reading A Game of Thrones. I’m not a big fantasy reader, but I’ve read and enjoyed some genre classics, so I figured I’d give it a go. Love it so far. Which is good, because I bought the first four books in the series in one go. These are not small books.

• I read an article a couple of weeks ago that said that George R. R. Martin based A Song of Ice and Fire partly on the Wars of the Roses, so I bought a book on same, which I’m really enjoying.

• This coincides with my deciding a week ago to sit down and start writing a Victorian historical, although the one issue there is that most of what I know about nineteenth century British history was gleaned from romance novels. So I started researching, and came to realize that British history? Really fascinating. Lots of drama and conflict. No wonder so many have written novels about it.

• But I started wondering if there was some definitive text all the historical romance writers rely on. (If you know what it is, please tell me!) I got frustrated with Amazon because browsing through thousands of books on British history wasn’t getting me anywhere.

• So today, I went to get hair forcibly removed from my face with hot wax (that is, I got my eyebrows done—this is the one excessive grooming thing I do, because I unfortunately inherited my father’s bushy eyebrows, so I end up looking like Frida Kahlo if I leave them untamed) and then remembered that there’s a used bookstore across the street from my local salon. How convenient! I went in and was happy to find a dauntingly large illustrated history of Britain for only $6. Used bookstores are the best!

• I saw Sherry Jones read last month and bought Four Sisters, All Queens—also about European royalty, a couple of centuries prior to the Wars of the Roses—so that moved up a few spots in the TBR pile.

• So, summer projects: read the first four Song of Ice and Fire books; DIY crash course on British history.

• This’ll be like the 3-month unemployment period I had a number of years ago, during which I decided I wanted to learn all about Caesar’s Rome. I read two books just about Caesar crossing the Rubicon, no lie, and then I got an old coworker to send me a book my former employer had published about early civilizations, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

• I like learning!

• Maybe I should write a novel about sexy times in Ancient Rome. Or sexy times during the Wars of the Roses. Or both!