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 makes a triumphant return

Weekly wrap-up!

1. I skipped doing my five things post last week, because aside from the triumphant release of What There Is, I didn’t have a lot going on. Not so this week! I have been so very busy! But, hey, I had a novella come out last week, and that is no small feat. (Check out the story! There are boys. There is Brooklyn. And, yes, there’s even baseball.)

2. I went to Lady Jane’s Salon on Monday and bought two books even though I do not need any more books. It was funny, actually; I almost didn’t go because I was having trouble summoning the energy to drag myself from Brooklyn to Manhattan, but going was definitely the correct decision, because I had a blast. Seriously, if you are ever near a Lady Jane’s, GO.

3. Wednesday, I went to a class at the Brooklyn Brainery (conveniently located right in my neighborhood). It was called Great New York City Buildings Few Guide Books Will Ever Mention. It was fun, basically an architect’s take on which buildings in New York are the most interesting. The choices were all pretty obscure, including this oddball building in Brooklyn.

4. I saw cover drafts for both of my fall books this week. That’s always a fun part of the publishing process.

Oh, and I have pub dates! The baseball anthology Playing Ball will be out 9/25 and my opera novel The Stars that Tremble is tentatively schedule to come out on 9/30. So it will be a Kateriffic September. (And, good news: print copies of both should be available for signing at GRL.)

5. I want to read all the gay historical romances. (I just finished The Gentleman’s Keeper by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon and loved it.) Any recs?

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 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.

five things on friday are fabulous

This week really sped by. It’s already Friday! So, weekly wrap-up!

1. What I’m up to: I’m finishing up a historical baseball story. It’s not officially contracted yet, but here’s the low down: it’s about a dandy sports reporter who is taken with a media-shy rookie player for the NY Giants in 1927 when Babe Ruth and the Yankees are dominating the headlines. (Homosexuality, while not celebrated, was also not condemned in the same way in 1927 that it was after World War II. So my sports reporter is not “out” in the contemporary sense of the word, but everyone kind of knows.) I’m hoping to polish up the ending this weekend.

2. I’m also gearing up to do a little road show for Save the Date, my novella out June 4. It’s part of a Loose Id promotion called “I Do… Unless I Don’t” so I have teamed up with a few of the other authors who wrote gay stories (Dev Bentham, J.A. Rock, Cassandra Gold, and Dominique Frost) for a Big Gay Wedding blog tour. I’ll post dates for that soon, so you can follow along at home.

3. I’m also working on the GayRomLit Writers Workshop now, in hip-deep as it were. We’re in the process of finalizing the schedule, and let me tell you, we have a FANTASTIC lineup of workshops and speakers. So if you were hedging on whether to go, let me tell you: if you are a writer, you should go.

4. Back in New York: I met a friend for dinner in Chelsea last night. We ate at a Thai place and sat next to this very affectionate, handsy gay couple, one of whom didn’t speak English that well, so watching him try to get the waitress to explain what he was eating was kind of adorable. He kept calling the triangular cracker things that came with the tuna tartar “tacos.”

Later, we went down Eighth Avenue to a little bakery for dessert, and while we were chatting over cookies, this big protest march went down the street. They were chanting something like, “These are OUR streets!” One of them ran inside and handed the guy at the counter a flyer. The guy explained that a gay couple had been really brutally beaten after a Knicks game recently. (When I went home and Googled the incident, it turned out that there have actually been THREE really awful gay bashings recently, two near Penn Station and a third in front of a gay bar on Christopher Street. Hence the take-back-the-streets march.) I’m horrified by the gay bashing news; I should probably not be surprised that something like this can happen in New York City, but I am. Silver lining: The tail end of the protest march chanted one of the best slogans I’ve ever heard: “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re fabulous! Don’t fuck with us!” And good on Chelsea residents for showing solidarity that way.

5. I’m allergic to whatever is blooming right now, and my eyes are so watery, I’m worried someone is going to ask what’s wrong, and then I’ll have to come up with some story about how wisteria reminds me of a lost love and I just can’t help but weeping, except actually, there is just not enough Claritin in the world to ease my suffering. Which is a shame, because the weather has been pretty spectacular this week, a welcome respite to the very long winter we had (plus the snow in KC!).

I exaggerate. It’s actually not that bad, save for the low-grade sinus headache I’ve had since Saturday and the fact that the allergy meds are making me kind of groggy, slowing down my writing progress somewhat. Welcome summer, I guess.

five things stand with boston

Here’s my weekly wrap-up post for what ended up being a WEEK.

1. Storytime! When I was 19, my boyfriend at the time took me to Boston for New Years. He grew up in the Boston suburbs—though most of his family was from the city proper and had the accents to prove it—so he knew a lot of people in the area and we met up with a group of his friends. Boston does a First Night celebration with short concerts and comedy shows and that kind of thing all over the city in various venues. It gets crowded, so I think we spent more of that night waiting on line to get into theaters than we did actually watching entertainment. This was long enough ago that my memory is a little fuzzy, but I do remember running across Boston Common in the cold and getting lost down odd side streets trying to find a theater playing some jazz and stumbling into a diner late because we were cold and hungry. Toward the end of the night, we found a good spot to watch the fireworks, and at midnight, my boyfriend kissed me and told me he loved me, and that was the first time anyone had kissed me at midnight on New Years and really meant it.

I lived in Massachusetts for a while, but I’m a New Yorker at heart, and we New Yorkers derive a fair amount of pleasure from ragging on Boston. But when I heard the news on Monday about the bombing, one of the first things I remembered was that First Night in Boston and how magical it was. I’ve spent a lot of time in Boston over the years and that city holds a lot of great memories for me. I watched a lot of news coverage Monday night and couldn’t stop thinking about how things would change for Boston now, how the city was different, how this memory would now be embedded in one of my favorite Boston neighborhoods.

The last third of my upcoming novella Save the Date actually takes place in Boston.

Because, on that night when I was 19, what I didn’t know was that this man and I would spend the next decade either together or negotiating how to be together until we reached a crossroads and finally ended it. I didn’t know that, in the fall of 2012, I’d be getting an invitation to his wedding to another woman. I didn’t know a joke I made about that on a thing called Twitter would turn into this really silly novella about a guy whose ex gets married in Boston. All I knew that night when we kissed at midnight under the fireworks was that we were young and in love and had a whole future ahead of us. Even if the relationship didn’t work out, it’s still a fond memory.

So, I’m thinking about donating some of the proceeds from the sale of Save the Date to One Fund Boston or the Red Cross or something. I feel like that’s really the least I can do for a city that gave me a lot.

2. The bad news has kind of overshadowed the good, which was that I had a blast last weekend at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York. Heidi Cullinan and Ethan Day flew out for it, and we had locals Damon Suede and Tere Michaels at the table, too, and they are all great and I enjoyed myself immensely. The change in venue from last year didn’t seem to slow down traffic much. Well, it felt a little roomier than in past years to me, but people kept pointing out that the room was about the same size, so maybe I’m crazy. But that was a good day.

3. Save the Date second edits went back to my Loose Id editor last night. The pub date for that is June 4th! Also, I posted what I now see is an awkwardly-worded blurb for my next story after that, a short novella called What There Is, to my Upcoming page. A blurb for Save the Date is there, too. There will be updated blurbs and covers and things as I get them.

4. On Tuesday, I had dinner with a friend in the West Village. We ate at a place on Bleecker that serves a few dozen varieties of risotto, then we visited a new bakery that specializes in macarons (we had to check this place out… for science), and then on the walk back to the subway, we passed a little shop that only serves popsicles. I should open a cafe that only serves one thing. Ideas? Maybe a bakery that only makes whoopie pies?

5. Those of you who are attending GayRomLit may be delighted to know that there are still spots left in the writers workshop, which yours truly is now helping to coordinate in my capacity as VP of Rainbow Romance Writers. It’s shaping up to be a pretty cool event. A schedule will be posted to the website once we’ve confirmed and finalized everything.

So that’s all the news this week. Let’s hope next week is a lot less terrible.

five things: icy cold edition

Weeeeekly wrap-up!

1. The last stop on the Show and Tell press tour was on Tuesday over at Babbling About Books, in which I discussed the brave new world of writing in a different genre.

And Joyfully Jay gave the book 4.5 stars!

I guess I have to sell another book now so that I have something else to spam you all with. Ha!

2. What is there to say about this week except that it was frickin’ cold. As I write this, it is a balmy 16°F in New York City. I get that it’s winter, and I guess our last few winters have been so mild that this seems freakish, but I am displeased.

I have often contended that my life would be perfect if New York could just be transported to someplace with a better climate, like San Diego. But I guess if we didn’t have awful winters and oppressive summers, it wouldn’t be New York.

3. I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Jacob Tomsky’s Heads in Beds, a memoir of working in hotels, and there’s a bit in the book (chapter 14, I think) when he talks about how New York chips away at you.

I’m sure this experience is different for natives, but that section resonated with me. Of course, then he says that you have to leave or the city will continue to chip away with you, but there, I think he’s wrong. There’s a hump to get over. No doubt, New York is a hard place to live, and I had some lean years in the mid-aughts when I was trying to pay for a studio in Manhattan on a publishing salary and I was in a romantic relationship that was falling apart. I had one bad winter in which I came very close to packing up and leaving. But I think if you can survive that, well, Mr. Sinatra explained that pretty well. You get through the worst of it and then suddenly a whole new world of possibilities opens up. I love this place, I really do. Like, the city really puts you through the wringer and if you can get through that, you can do anything and then finally, the city will start to love you back.

4. Last weekend I took myself on an “artist’s date” to the Brooklyn Museum which is, conveniently, a less-than-ten-minute walk from my apartment. I’ve been a little blocked creatively lately and I needed to refill the well, as a friend put it. The Brooklyn Museum is curated in a really interesting, modern way and is definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself in Brooklyn. Highlights for me include: 1) The American art section on the top floor, and I recommend the audio tour; 2) The feminist art wing, especially Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, is MUST SEE; 3) The Egyptian art department CAT-scanned some mummies a couple of years ago and the science is fascinating.

From the American Art exhibit, I really liked this painting—m/m writers, I think there’s a story there.

I love museums, as you may have gathered from reading my books. I actually had to rewrite a scene in Show and Tell wherein Dan and Malcolm go to the Met because the American Wing was remodeled in 2011 and all the stuff was moved around. The case of glass bottles they find is not real, but I could tell you exactly where I’d put it if I were in the museum. (Near the Tiffany glass.)

I also went to Vogue Knitting Live on Saturday with a few friends who are far more industrious knitters than I. But, man, if you are the sort of person who likes to go to yarn shops to molest the fiber (which I certainly am) the marketplace there was like heaven. Any kind of fiber in any color you could have dreamed of! I bought enough yarn for two projects. Well, I bought a 300-yard hank of some super soft alpaca blend with glittery thread spun into it that was just too pretty not to buy. (The lady at the booth said it’s enough yarn for two cowls, but I think I will just make a shawl or wrap or something.) And then I bought some superwash wool that was being sold in super bulk (so, cheap) that I’ve already started knitting into a cardigan. The colorway is nuts; I think the sweater will be insane and glorious in the end.

5. I finished the first draft of a short story last night—including the sex scene, which inspired a lively conversation with some fellow authors on Twitter yesterday afternoon in which we alternately celebrated/lamented having to write sexy times. I’m going through a phase right now where I really hate writing sex scenes. (Like, you’ll notice that Lead Us Not doesn’t even have one—I was like, This is a free short, it’s not like an editor will come along and say, “There should be sex here.” I can do what I want.) I don’t feel inhibited so much as I fear writing the same scene over and over again, and I worry my sex writing has gotten a little stale. Also in this case, I sat there and was like, “I don’t know what these boys like to do in bed together.” But the story seemed to call for it—it had to happen for plot-related reasons, and I guess I could have faded to black, but it seemed like a good opportunity to develop these characters and their relationship. So I wrote it. I am glad I did! I think it adds to the story!

And so, until next week…

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!

weekend wrap-up

I had a really fabulous weekend. A bunch of staff and authors from Dreamspinner Press were in New York for a workshop, so I got to schmooze with a stupendous group of people. I’m a reader, too, so I of course fangirled over a few of them, and I got to see a few of the people I met at GRL and last year’s Rainbow Book Fair again, which was great. One thing I really love about this genre is that whenever I do events like this, I find that everyone is friendly and fun and supportive. Despite some transportation snafus (getting between Brooklyn and Queens is hard, yo) I had a great time. (I also feel like I’m gushing here. But I think it’s really good to get out there and meet other authors, if only because writing is one of those activities that can be really isolating. I know that I personally do not always have faith that I’m making the right decisions, so it’s good to have the opportunity to ask for advice or even just a hug. I’m also naturally an extrovert, so I’m always happy to go out and meet people.)

Saturday, I went to the Rainbow Book Fair and wound up spending most of the day at the Rainbow Romance Writers table. (Elisa posted photos from the event. There’s even one of yours truly.) The fair was bigger this year than last year and I’d say it was a resounding success. It felt like there was a pretty constant stream of people through the little Romance Row we had there with some of the other romance publishers. I met some readers and signed some books and had a lot of fun.

Now, onward! I’ve done a little writing over the last couple of days, and I’m working out which project to concentrate on next. (I always have, like, 5 WIPs going at a time. One of my critique buddies calls this “Project ADD.”) I’m spinning my wheels a little after a super productive January and February, and now that I’m kind of between projects, it’s tricky to settle on just one thing to work on. But I suppose a wealth of ideas is a good problem to have if you’re a writer, huh?

the things you find

Reminder: I’m reading tonight at Lady Jane’s Salon in New York City.

It’s been an interesting few days in New York.

I stayed up until 1am March 1 to register for GayRomLit in Albuquerque. (I will learn to spell “Albuquerque” without looking it up before October!) I did not hesitate even a second before registering, and I’m really excited to be going again.

On Thursday, my friend A and I went to a reading at a tiny Brooklyn bookstore (Word in Greenpoint). We saw Eloisa James, Maya Rodale, and Sarah MacLean, all historical romance writers. A and I have been attending all manner of romance-related events in NYC and having a really great time. Granted, part of that is just fangirling over authors we really like, but we’ve also gotten the chance to talk to both readers and writers who are just as enthusiastic about the romance genre as we are.

Anyway, the “reading” was run more as a panel discussion, and one of the first things the panel talked about was writing. Some of their suggestions were solid if maybe standard writerly advice: read a lot, constantly work on craft, etc. But one suggestion they made was to make friends who are about at your stage in the publishing process. I hadn’t really thought of that before; I’ve only really started seriously networking with other authors over the last six months or so, but it’s nice to have that support network.

The discussion also included some questions on gay romance, although the focus was more on lesbian romance. Someone posed the question: if attitudes about women’s sexuality are changing within romance novels (which everyone agreed they are) is there room for bisexual or lesbian heroines? That stumped the panel, who weren’t sure what the barrier to success for lesbian romances was. I’d like to think f/f books can succeed; someone I talked to after the panel suggested there just needed to be a critical mass of really good ones before they became a phenomenon. (I don’t really buy that there’s no interest in lesbian romance, which is an argument I’ve heard a lot.)

Speaking of women, Friday night I did something I’d never done before. I went on a girls’ night out to nerdy burlesque. When we were waiting on line to get into the theater, one of my friends remarked that this was one of those strange, possibly Only In New York things. The show had a Batman theme, and most of the dancers wore costumes based on villains from the comic books. I think my favorite was the woman who dressed up as the Joker; her interpretation was based on the Heath Ledger Joker, and she stripped down to a nurse’s uniform before showing off her pasties that were made to look like tiny hand grenades. It was pretty awesome. (I’d never been to a burlesque show before, but I’d heard that a lot of the ones in New York are very pro-woman. I’d say that was true here. The audience was respectful but appreciative, for example. It was fun and not sleazy.)

A good friend of mine from college came to NYC this weekend, so we spent Saturday afternoon together doing dumb touristy things. I rarely do things like that—hell, I rarely leave Brooklyn these days—but I think it’s fun sometimes to see the city from the perspective of people who don’t live here. I forget sometimes what it’s like. For example, I had a job on Fifth Avenue for a long time. It was a few blocks from Rockefeller Center and I got so used to walking through that area every day that navigating it felt like more of a nuisance than a wonder. But as my friend and I were walking up Fifth on Saturday, she kept pointing stuff out, and I kept thinking, “Oh, yeah. That is pretty cool.” It’s nice to have some of the magic back.

So tonight, I’ve got the big reading, then later this month is the Rainbow Book Fair. I’m currently working on edits for Out in the Field, my upcoming romance between two baseball players. (That comes out at the end of April.) So March is busy!