Upcoming Books, Sales, etc.

It’s been a tumultuous last few weeks on almost all fronts for me. The major thing was that I moved. Just within Brooklyn, but even moving from one apartment to another 1.5 miles away is one of the most stressful things I’ve had to do in a good long while. I’m settling in at the new place pretty well, although it’s still Box City because I’ve had very little time for unpacking.

The bad news: because of this and a zillion other little things going on in my life at the moment, I had to cancel my trip to San Diego for the Romance Writers of America conference. It nearly killed me to cancel; I love that conference and am sad and disappointed to miss it. But there’s always next year!

The good news: I have 2 books coming out in July.

So here’s what’s going on with me on the book front:

OutInTheFieldFS The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom BoyNextDoor[The]FS

1. Out in the Field is a dollar! In time for last night’s All-Star Game, read about two Major Leaguers falling in love. Dreamspinner | Amazon

2. The category romance I wrote for Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desires Line, The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom is going live on Friday. I bet you can guess what the book is about from the title; Archie’s business is failing and Ondrej wants to stay in the U.S., so Ondrej pays Archie a pile of money in exchange for a green card marriage. Then there are hijinks. You can pre-order it now: Dreamspinner | Amazon

3. At long last, The Boy Next Door is coming back into print. The new edition has been revised and re-edited and is also up for pre-order pretty much everywhere. That’ll be out on June 22. Lowell moves back to his hometown after a decade away and just happens to buy the house next door to his high school crush. Dreamspinner | Amazon

I also got word yesterday that a contemporary romance I’ve been shopping around for awhile may have a home, so stay tuned for more information on that.

Out in the Field blog tour!

OutInTheFieldFSWant some facts, inspiration, and background information on Out in the Field? Check out the stops on the blog tour. I talked quite a bit about my inspiration, the research I did, and what it was like to revisit these characters at the various stops on the tour. Here’s the complete list:

MM Good Book Reviews (on sports as a romance setting)
Divine Magazine (on baseball becoming more inclusive)
Sinfully (on revising the second edition)
Boy Meets Boy (on creating the Brooklyn Eagles)
Gay Book Reviews (on updating the second edition for progress made by LGBT athletes)
Dreamspinner (on the process of writing the novel)
Open Skye Book Reviews (on creating the Brooklyn Eagles)
Kiki’s Kinky Picks (on athlete heroes)
Love Bytes (on the rising popularity of sports romance)

And that’s it! I wanted to also thank everyone for the kind words and enthusiasm about this book all week! This book means a lot to me, and it thrills and humbles me that so many people love it, too. <3

Out in the Field is here!

OutInTheFieldFSThe 2nd Edition of Out in the Field is now available wherever you buy books!

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks
All Romance eBooks.

Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.

Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.

A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?

Out in the Field, 2nd Ed, Preorder Info!

OutInTheFieldFSIt’s spring, so you may need some hot baseball action in your life. If you can’t wait to get your hot little hands on the new edition of Out in the Field (which drops May 16) here’s where you can preorder:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks
All Romance eBooks.

It will also be at Kobo, but it’s not live at press time. Check there later this week if it’s your preferred store. (I’ll try to remember to update the link when it’s live.)

Out in the Field: Second Edition

OutInTheFieldFSOut in the Field, my 2012 romance novel about two Major League baseball players who find love despite the odds, has gone out of print this week. But no worries! I’ve revised and updated the book, which includes adding a couple of new scenes, and the new edition will be out on May 16!

You can preorder it from Dreamspinner Press (and soon everywhere else).

Here’s the new description:

Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.

Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.

A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?

Baseball Monday: Out in the Field Epilogue

Baseball MondaysIn light of it both being Pride weekend in NYC and the recent Supreme Court ruling, I thought it might be fun to revisit some old friends, and so today, I give you a little epilogue with Matt and Iggy from Out in the Field.

Matt lingered in bed, enjoying the sun streaming in through the window and nothing in particular on his agenda for the day. Maybe he’d read a book or take a walk, or maybe he’d just sleep another hour; there was no rush on anything.

He wasn’t even that sore. Well, he was a little sore, especially through his legs, probably from all the jumping and cheering he’d done when the high school kids he’d been coaching had won the city-wide baseball finals. And, since today was technically the last day of school, he was done coaching for a while, unless he decided to get involved with Little League or something over the summer. Iggy had been encouraging him to do just that. He’d grumbled about getting old and needing some time off, but he knew perfectly well he coped better with Iggy’s time away during the baseball season by keeping busy. So, yeah, maybe he’d look into a coaching gig for the summer now that the academic year was over. He’d worry about that tomorrow, because right now, he was drifting back to sleep.

Just as he was slipping into dreamworld, though, there was a crash at the front door. Matt jerked up in bed, convinced the apartment was being broken into. He was about to scramble out of bed and grab a bat or something when he heard, “Matt! Matt, oh my god, Matt! Where are you?”

“Bedroom. Jesus, Iggy, you scared the shit out of me.”

Iggy appeared at the bedroom doorway with a sheepish grin. “Sorry. Well, not really. Have you heard the news?”

“What news? I just woke up.” Matt stretched his arms and wondered if he should bother to lay back down. “Shouldn’t you be at practice?”

“Fuck practice. This is more important.”

Matt spared a thought for what on earth could have Iggy this wound up, but instead patted Iggy’s side of the bed and said, “All right. Tell me.”

Iggy smiled, so clearly it wasn’t bad news. He sat on the bed and put a hand on Matt’s thigh. “Babe, the Supreme Court ruling was just announced. We won!”

Through the haze of sleepy misunderstanding, Matt stared at Iggy until he remembered that the Court was supposed to have ruled on marriage equality. “Wait, what? We won?”

“It’s unconstitutional to ban us from marrying each other. Not just here in New York, but across all fifty states. Can you believe that? Did you ever think you’d see the day?”

“No. I really didn’t.” It was overwhelming. Matt’s heart raced as he thought about it. But then, the world had changed so fast. When Matt had retired from the game, coming out publicly seemed inconceivable. But now Iggy was out and proud and still an active player. He got some shit for it in some stadiums, but the Eagles organization made it clear that they always had his back. They’d even issued tee-shirts just that season that showed the Eagles’ logo done in a rainbow. Fans could purchase Rodriguez jerseys (and faux vintage Blanco journeys, even) with pride messages or rainbow flags on them.

Matt had been following the news. He and Iggy had talked quite a bit when the Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. But Matt was still adjusting his expectations. He was a gay man in his forties, after all, and he’d spent most of his life hiding that he was gay; marriage had never felt like it was in the cards. Not even after the state of New York had ruled it legal.

He looked at Iggy, who was still smiling ear to ear. “It’s really…” Matt tried. Then he shook his head. “I mean, across the United States. All of the states. Gay couples can get married?”

Out in the Field“Yup. I mean, I imagine there will be some resistance in some states, you know, but it’s… I had pushed the whole thing out of my mind. I was worried the Court would rule with the appeals court and the bans would be upheld, and I didn’t want to think about that, so I had pushed it aside. We’ve got that series against the Sox starting tonight, which is what I really should be thinking about, and Bill is going to kill me, but… I got an alert on my phone just as I was raising my hand to hail a cab to the stadium, so I came back because I had to tell you in person.”

Matt closed his eyes for a moment to just feel everything that was happening. It had been a strange couple of years. Iggy was still widely considered one of the most valuable players in the Majors, Matt was highly sought after as both a coach and a public speaker, and the anticipated apocalypse hadn’t happened. So life was good. But Matt’s reluctance to even think the word “marriage” near Iggy had stemmed in part from his constant fear that all of this was about to crumble down around them.

But, no, the Supreme Court had ruled that gay couples across the whole country could get married.

Iggy was saying something now; Matt stopped thinking to listen.

“So in the eyes of the law, we’re real people, you know? Our relationship is real. And it means something important.”

Iggy was right. All the years he and Matt had been together had been good. Not without problems, both outside of their relationship and within it, but definitely good. Great. Amazing, even. Matt’s love for Iggy hadn’t dimmed in the years they’d been together, even after they settled into routines and habits. Matt loved Iggy even more now than he had that night of his going away party, back when he’d been traded to Texas and was planning to move across the country, and Iggy had stood in the kitchen and told Matt he loved him and wasn’t ready to let him go yet, and Matt’s heart had neatly burst because he loved Iggy right back. He loved Iggy more now than he had when Iggy had supported him through his injury and retirement. He loved Iggy more now than he did the day Iggy came out to the public and they’d hugged in the stadium in front of God and the Eagles and everyone.

And because they’d been together for nearly six years, and because the world had not ended because of it, and because the Supreme Court of the United States had just more or less blessed their relationship, Matt said, “Marry me.”

Iggy’s smile was incandescent. “Oh, baby. I thought you’d never ask.”

Surprise Out in the Field Valentine’s Day Short!

Lots of big news this week if you’re a sports fan. There are Olympics going on. NFL-bound player Michael Sam came out of the closet. My beloved Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter announced he’s retiring at the end of the upcoming season. And today is not just Valentine’s Day but also the day that pitchers and catchers report for baseball Spring Training. So I thought, what better way to celebrate than a short visit with Matt and Iggy? So here you are! Enjoy!

Matt frowned at Iggy’s giant suitcase, half packed and laying open on the bed. Iggy hadn’t even left the city yet, but the apartment already felt empty. With a heavy sigh, he left the room and walked into the kitchen, where he put a half-hearted effort into making a sandwich.

He was half eating, half reading the sports news on his phone when a snow-covered Iggy blew through the door.

“Don’t go outside,” Iggy said. Continue reading

five things: people singing plus favorite books of 2012

Weekly wrap-up!

1. Show and Tell will be available for your reading pleasure on Tuesday!

2. I went to see the Les Miserables movie last weekend. I had FEELINGS. Here’s the thing: I love Les Mis. I saw it on Broadway twice. I have an ex who also loved it, and the original cast recording got a lot of play on long car trips, during which time we would both sing along loudly and badly. I own two different cast recordings. I watch the anniversary concert whenever it’s on PBS. I LOVE IT, okay?

Although I generally enjoyed the movie, I wanted to like it more than I did. On the plus side, Hugh Jackman is fantastic and has an even better voice than I expected. (I was a little worried. He totally pulls it off.) Eddie Redmayne totally won me over. I loved Aaron Tveit and Samantha Barks. (Someone please put Aaron Tveit in all of the movies, thank you.) It was fun to see something I’d only seen on stage brought to life with real sets and things. On the other hand, I thought Russell Crowe was horribly miscast. The problem with singing live instead of lip-synching is that there were a lot of scenes that were just close-ups of one character singing a solo, and that made the movie drag. (Also, I wanted there to be more singing and less emoting, especially on Anne Hathaway’s part.) Somehow I had also forgotten how unrelentingly unhappy the story is, and I walked away from the theater thinking, “Why was this made into a musical again?” (I watched Chicago again recently and had a similar reaction. Like, “Wow, every one of these characters is a terrible person. Why am I watching this again? Oh, right, I love the music.”)

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to sing all the parts from “One Day More” using different voices while I take a shower, but the movie fell just short of being awesome for me.

3. On New Years, I participated in a New Year’s Kisses Party. You can go on over here to read Matt & Iggy’s first kiss (from Out in the Field) and enter to win prizes. The contest was extended through January 7, so there are still a few more days to enter.

4. Just for funsies, I thought I’d pick 10 books I read in 2012 that I enjoyed. This is going to be a genre smorgasbord, so bear with me. I hesitate to even call these the best books of the year, because my reading habits were really odd, so these are basically A Bunch of Books that Kate Really Liked. (And somehow, I read 102 books in 2013, so it took some time to winnow down this list.) In the order I read them:

Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan. I had put off reading this one because I’d heard there was a big scene featuring a sex act that makes me kind of squeamish (I’m a wuss, okay?) but it wound up being maybe my favorite of Heidi’s books, and The Scene? It totally, totally works within the context of the book.

Bonds of Earth by G.N. Chevalier. Maybe the best m/m historical I read this year, a pleasant surprise given that I bought the book almost entirely because of the evocative cover.

What Binds Us by Larry Benjamin. This probably falls more on the gay lit end of the spectrum. There’s a love story, but it’s not the central arc of the book. Beautiful writing, emotional intensity, well-drawn setting. Highly recommended to everyone.

Armed and Dangerous by Abigail Roux. 2012 was the year I gave the Cut & Run series a second chance. (I’ll admit, I didn’t love the first book in the series. But I was looking for something to read in March and thought, “Everyone loves these. Maybe I missed something.” I did miss something, because this series is great, with a really wonderful emotional arc that spans the books.) This was my favorite entry in the series thus far. Can we have the next book now please?

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I’mma finish this damn series if it kills me. I’m not a big epic fantasy reader, but I loved this book. Read in conjunction with Alison Weir’s book on the Wars of the Roses got me all excited for medieval history, too. [/nerd] (My youngest brother, actually, recently became a total GRRM fanboy, so I’ve been enjoying discussing the books with him. He and I don’t have a ton in common, so it’s nice to have something to bond over.)

The Murder of the Century by Paul Collins. Nonfiction book on a crime in New York in the 1890s that reads like a novel and is tremendously compelling.

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward. 2012 was also The Year Kate Finally Got Around to Reading Those J.R. Ward Books. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Zsadist and Bella’s book is the best one, right? (I am so dying for Lover at Last, I can’t even tell you.)

The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley. I think this one made everyone’s favorite romance novel list a couple of years ago, but I only got around to reading it this fall. No lie, it’s really good. If you’re a fan of m/f Regencies, this is required reading.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. Speaking of things I finally got around to reading! It’s brilliant and unusual and though it takes a while to get off the ground, once the plot gets going, it makes a lot of interesting twists.

Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless. If you want a sweet, feel-good romance, this is your book. A character with Tourette’s meets a character with a traumatic brain injury, and though there’s not a lot of conflict between them, I really liked it.

Bonus #1: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. I did a reading with Sarah in March and got to talk to her some, and she’s super fun. So, I read her backlist. She becomes a better writer with every book, and this was my favorite of her books so far. (I know my audience here, though. This is another m/f Regency. Put down the pitchforks.)

Bonus #2: Pressure Head by JL Merrow. I’m a sucker for a story about a psychic. It’s not flawless, but Merrow has such a wonderful writing voice that I just want her to keep writing books forever. I want for there to be a sequel to this one.

Bonus #3: Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson. I read this whole book on New Year’s Day when I was recovering from my hangover and I loved it to pieces. It’s sweet and cute and laugh-out-loud funny.

There’s a lot of m/m on this list, which is funny considering I read many fewer m/m books in 2012 than in recent years past. I did read A LOT of just-okay m/f Regencies. I love them, but they become sort of same-y and interchangeable, particularly if you, like me, tend to read, like, six of them in one go before wandering off to read something else. I found most of the ones I read this year fun and entertaining but forgettable.

5. Now that it’s 2013, my official tenure as Vice President of the Rainbow Romance Writers has begun! Honestly, I am feeling equal parts “Let’s do this!” and “What the hell did Heidi and Damon talk me into doing?”

I was jotting down resolutions and yearly goals in my offline journal yesterday, and one of them was simply, “Be awesome.” I think that is my general command of 2013. Be awesome, 2013!

New Year’s Eve Kisses Party

I’m participating in a New Year’s Eve Kisse Party, which will include some sexy excerpts of first kisses from novels from a bunch of great authors. It’ll be hosted by Kay Berrisford (where you’ll find Matt and Iggy’s first kiss) and Tara Lain from December 31st through January 1st.

There’s a $35 gift card and some books to win, so go check it out!