The Boy Next Door temporarily unavailable

Just a quick note to let you all know that The Boy Next Door is about to go temporarily out of print. I’m hoping to have news soon about a shiny new edition and the long-awaited sequel for Neal. But in the meantime, you probably won’t be able to buy it anywhere after February 1.

I’m hard at work on Neal’s book (…again, finally) so I hope the wait will be worth it!

And Now for My Next Trick: Update on Upcoming Books and Other Insanity

My local RWA chapter does a time capsule each year, wherein every member writes down some things s/he hopes to accomplish in the next year. We put the pieces of paper in a box and don’t look at them again until a year later. I was surprised to see that I’d actually done just about everything I’d set out to in 2014. Well, “get organized” was and is perpetually on my list, but I did sit down in September to map out the next six to eight months of writing. (At BEA last year, Tere Michaels said to me, “So what’s next for you?” and when I said, “Uh…” she said, “You should always have an answer to that question.” So I try to keep that in mind.)

I’m currently about a month behind schedule, though.

I believe in plans. If I’m going to make a go of writing as a career—something I want very much—I have to have a plan, because going about it haphazardly will likely lead to me living in a cardboard box under the Manhattan Bridge.

But life. Oh, how life intervenes sometimes.

I figured I’d take a little time out to talk about some of the all-out insanity of the last few months and what I’ve got on deck, partly to explain my occasional absences from social media and to let you all know what I’m working on, and partly just to write about it.

This is a long post, but I hope you’ll read to the end. I buried the lead on some news.

• My non-writing career stuff got complicated in 2014 when the company I work for by day laid off half its staff in the spring. Figuring I’d probably get laid off in the fall, I hung up my freelance shingle again in July. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve worked in publishing for years and have long done editorial freelance on the side, but I’d taken a two-year hiatus to focus on writing. Well, as soon as I hung the shingle, I got two regular clients, which was great! Financial security is always good! But they kept me BUSY all through the fall. And then I didn’t get laid off after all. So mostly I just worked. A lot. I need to make some changes in 2015, and I will, though my plan is not concrete just yet.

• Personal: My uncle, my mother’s brother, passed away in December after a long battle with cancer. I’d been mentally preparing for this for a while, but everyone thought he had a few more months left, so it still felt sudden. I went down to visit family for a week, which was nice but also incredibly sad. He was a really great man.

New cat, keeping my writing notes warm.

New cat, keeping my writing notes warm.

My mother has been having a difficult time with things—not just this but a bunch of other stuff, too—so I spent a lot of November and December with her. She’s getting ready to move out of her apartment and probably out of New York for at least a little while, and so her cat has moved in with me indefinitely. So now I have two cats. Which is why my Twitter is kind of All Cats All the Time lately.

The family stuff and the cats and my freelance work schedule all hitting at the same time was really tough. It was also an opportunity to put things in perspective. I’ve seen a lot of the flame-outs and community drama on social media recently—side effect of sitting at a desk all day and having a short attention span, I guess—and I understand how easy it is to get caught up in it, but I also decided over the holidays that I was going to blow off the Internet and spend time with family. My uncle’s passing brought home for me that my parents are aging and won’t be around forever, so I should make more time for them, for example. I want to make more time for what’s important to me, which is primarily my family—both biological and chosen—and my writing. So that’s where I’m focusing my energy right now.

• Other stuff: I just finished out my year as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, but in the meantime got myself elected to the Board of the New York City chapter of RWA (as vice president of programs). So I’m doing that, too.

• And so onto the writing:

• An obvious highlight in what was otherwise a completely crappy December was the release of When the Planets Align. I spent the week before its release in Georgia with my family, so it felt weird and a little inappropriate to beat the promotion drum too loudly under the circumstances.

Still, I got a lot of the blog tour stuff written before I left for the funeral, so I hope people found out about the book. This is a challenging book. I predicted critical response would be mixed. The story is told nonlinearly. When I was about halfway through the first draft, I ran into a post on Facebook that was basically, “These are all the romance tropes I hate the most!” and Planets includes almost all of them. I wasn’t at all sure how the Joan character would be received, because she’s not really a villain but she is an obstacle between the characters and their happily ever after, and she was really hard to write. I’m glad to see reviews are mostly favorable, but I also recognize this is not a book for everyone. I hope those of you who do decide to buy it enjoy it!

• My primary goal for 2014 was to finish writing the first three books in my upcoming baseball series, called the Rainbow League. I did actually accomplish that, as of about a week ago. That was not an easy thing. I aim to write 2+ books a year, but here, I wrote 3 full novels over the course of 14 months, on top of everything else. (I also finished Planets and wrote the first drafts of two entirely new novels, for what it’s worth. That is a superhuman amount of work, and I’m frankly astonished I actually accomplished it. Look, I’m here to tell you, if you really want something, you’ll figure out how to make it happen. I figured it out. I wanted to tell these stories. I made the time to do it.)

I’m working on first edits now for Book 1. It’s called The Windup. This is the rare book where I, uh, hit it out of the park in the first draft. (Sorry, expect a lot of baseball metaphors in 2015.) I often do a lot of rewriting and adding and moving when I revise—and I love revising, I really do, I think it’s the editor in me—but The Windup went to the publisher polished and trimmed but not substantially different from that first draft. It’s good, I think; I like this book a lot at any rate. I paired up a character who suffers from an anxiety disorder but is open about his life and his flaws with someone who is cool and outgoing but keeps his emotions and anxieties close to the vest. So they have to find some middle ground. While playing baseball together.

I threw up a placeholder page for the series that will contain more information and some fun stuff starting in the second half of February. I’m aiming to launch some of the preliminary stuff starting the week pitchers and catchers report for MLB duty. The first book is scheduled to come out in April.

• What of the other two books I mentioned? Well, those are first drafts, which means they still need to be put through the revision wringer before I’ll call them finished manuscripts. The first, a new adult novel that is kinda sorta but not really a gay-for-you story, is almost there. The second, a historical set in NYC in the Gilded age and already contracted with Kensington for 2016, is waiting for my attention in the queue. I haven’t looked at it since I finished the first draft in early December. So those are my immediate next projects.

• Today I also plan to start reading The Boy Next Door for preparation to finally, finally write the sequel for Neal. It’s in my six-month plan and everything. I mean it this time. Note that TBND is about to come out of contract and will likely be out of print for part of this year, but hopefully a shiny new edition will be out soon. Stay tuned for more info on that.

• I have a couple of other books I want to write this year, so the good news is that there will be more Kate stuff for the foreseeable future.

So that’s the long-winded version of what’s going on with me. I hope you all are doing well and keeping busy. :)

serendipity

Here’s an odd coincidence:

I’m reading at Lady Jane’s Salon on March 5. (Lady Jane’s is New York City’s only romance reading series. It’s at 7pm at Madame X on Houston and you should totally come!) On Thursday, I got a big box delivered that contains the books I’ll be selling at the reading. And then Thursday night, I picked up my mail and saw I got my copy of Romance Writers Report, which is RWA’s magazine, and lo, there is an article called “The Art of Reading Aloud” by Janet Mullany, which features quotes from some of the Lady Jane’s founders on how to do a reading.

It’s like someone knew!

I’m not a stranger to public speaking, but I’ve only done one other public reading, and that was small potatoes and also almost two years ago, so this is making me a teensy bit nervous. Actually, right now, I’m agonizing over which scene to read. I’ll be reading from The Boy Next Door because it just came out in paperback. I’ve got it narrowed down to the first chapter, the scene where Lowell and Jase meet again for the first time, or the scene when Lowell and Jase have dinner right up until Jase finally comes clean and they kiss for the first time, because that is one of my favorite scenes in the novel. (Uh, if any of you have read the book and have alternate suggestions, I’m open to them!)

It’s funny; I go back and forth on whether it’s less scary to talk in front of a room of people I know or a room full of strangers. The Lady Jane’s crowd will be a mix of both, I think. I’m not an especially shy person, and I’ve had to give speeches in front of large groups of people before, but, I don’t know, there’s something different about reading your own writing.

Also, I’m trying to decide if this is a good excuse to buy a new party dress. :)

In other news, I designed new business cards for myself and I’m really happy with how they came out. They’re printed on really nice paper and I can’t stop touching them because I’m dweeby that way.

news

Two blog posts in one day! Crazy! Let’s do it in bullet points this time.

  • It’s Beat Your Winter Blues tour day again. This week we’re at Ellis Carrington’s blog talking about where we’d go if we could leave right now. Hop on over for information on how to win books, or leave a comment to be entered into the big drawing, a $200 gift card.
  • I blogged today at the RWANYC blog about how to write a love scene. (The title of the post “No Gratuitous Sex” is a leeetle misleading; look, I’m all in favor of gratuitous sex, but my point about writing love scenes in romance novels is that each scene should have a purpose. Go read the post for more.)
  • Speaking of Lady Jane’s Salon, it looks like I’ll be reading there next month, so if you’re in the NYC area on Monday March 5th, stop by! (I believe I will be reading from The Boy Next Door to celebrate its recent paperback release!) I’ll have more details about that soon. (I just confirmed it this morning, so I’m all buzzing with excitement and nervousness. This is only the second reading I’ve done… ever.)

The Boy Next Door in Paperback

I got my author copies of The Boy Next Door in the mail today. It was pretty darned cool to open that box. I’m a huge proponent of ebooks—ask me about my Kindle backlog!—but holding your book in your hands, that is amazing.

You can get your hot little hands on a copy your very own copy. It should be available from the book retailer of your choice very soon. I’ll also be giving away a copy during the Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour during the week that I’m hosting in February.

Here the book is shown on my living room bookcase, next to my other paperbacks and miscellaneous books.

Today was apparently Kate Gets Lots of Books In the Mail Day because I also got a box of stuff I ordered from Amazon, all of it nonfiction. Now if I could just find the time to read all these books in between writing. Deadlines abound!

happy 2012!

Happy New Year!

2011 was a really amazing year both personally and professionally, and I’m hoping for even bigger and better things in 2012. I wanted to reflect a little on how this year has gone. As far as my writing goes, here were some 2011 highlights:

The Boy Next Door was published in January. This was my third book, and my second novel-length work. The story has a lot of emotional resonance, at least for me. And it’ll be out in print sometime this month!

• In March, I went to the Rainbow Book Fair here in New York City and spent the day hanging out with a bunch of my fellow Dreamspinner authors. Everyone I met was wonderful. I think I met a dozen authors that day, and they were each friendly and welcoming and I thought it was great to feel a part of this community of m/m writers.

• In June, my friend A and I went to the literacy signing that kicked off the RWA conference in NYC. I talked to a few m/m writers there and I got to meet Suzanne Brockmann, who is one of my romance-writer idols.

Blind Items was published at the end of July. It’s funny to me that this became my breakout novel in a lot of ways. I was so unsure of how it would be received. It’s a funny book, and it’s quite New York in its sensibilities, and it’s as much about the main character’s relationships with the people in his life as it is about his romantic relationship. But I continue to be delighted by the way it’s been received, and I’m thrilled so many people enjoyed it.

• Two big things happened in October. Across the East River Bridge was published, and that is a book I’m enormously proud of. That same week, I got on a plane to New Orleans and spent four incredible days at GayRomLit, an event I’m still giddy about. I had such an amazing time meeting authors and readers and talking about books and everything else. I’ve been looking forward to Albuquerque since I got on the plane back to New York.

• In December, my fourth published work (if you exclude freebies) of the year came out, a Christmas short called A Walk in the Dark. I also accepted a job that I’m really excited about, but we’ll get to that soon.

So now a new year! I rang it in last night with good friends who live in Manhattan. Just after midnight, we went up to their building’s roof to see if we could catch a glimpse of the fireworks being shot off from Times Square. We heard them, but the view was blocked by other buildings. Still, I had one of those moments, looking up at the familiar parts of the skyline, when I was reminded just how magic this city can be sometimes.

I have a lot to look forward to this year. I just this morning got the contract for my fourth novel-length work, a romance between two baseball players tentatively titled Out in the Field. I’m hard at work on a number of other things as well, but more about that later.

A happy, healthy, prosperous New Year to you all!!

a few tiny things

Earlier this week, I ordered a bunch of goodies to give out at GayRomLit. (Bookmarks, postcards, and stickers!) I’m tinkering with the website some this weekend to match my new designs, starting with the new banner on the top of my site. It’s not a radical change, I know, and this banner is less sexy than the old one, but I like it.

Also, Fallen Angel Reviews gave four angels to The Boy Next Door.

I spent a good chunk of tonight putting together a Special Features post for Across the East River Bridge that has a ton of photos, plus historical background and some suggestions for further reading. The characters in the book are fictional, but there’s some real history tied into the plot with the ghosts. That post will go live a couple of days before the book comes out.

a couple of reviews and some lofty goals

The Boy Next Door reviewed by Joyfully Reviewed: “The Boy Next Door is an engaging tale of a man caught between family and love.”

Kindling Fire with Snow reviewed by Jenre: “Those of you looking for a sweet read that’s not too high on sugar will like this book and I recommend it with a grade of ‘Very good’.”

And now I find myself with two days in which I don’t have much to do other than write, which is such a luxury lately that I’m inclined to shut myself in. I have the goal of writing 10,000 words on my current WIP between now and the end of tomorrow, which is possible, I think, but definitely challenging. And I have a few much-lamented WIPs that I should get back to. So, you know, write write write!