Greatest Hits!

I have greatest hits, and you can now purchase them in one convenient bundle!

Five of my novels are now available in one neat package through Dreamspinner Press for only $9.99. It’s the Kate McMurray Greatest Hits Bundle! The books are:

Blind Items
Four Corners
The Stars that Tremble
When the Planets Align
The Windup

Hard to beat that deal! Shorter descriptions: a reporter and the son of a conservative politician meet and then there are shenanigans; Jake’s best friend Adam ditched him five years ago, but now he’s back—is it for good?; an opera singer meets the father of one of his student, and each helps the other get over his losses; old friends never quite seem to be in the same place at the same time—until they are; and the launch of my series about the guys who play for an LGBT baseball league in New York.

Phew!

You can also purchase through Amazon or the ebookstore of your choice.

2014 Rainbow Awards!

Wow! I’m so honored to have received the following:

WinnerMD Winner! The Playing Ball anthology I worked in with Shae Connor, Marguerite Labbe, and Kerry Freeman won first place in the LGBT anthology category! The anthology features my first foray into historical, “One Man to Remember,” a romance between a rookie baseball player and a sports reporter set in the Jazz Age.

I’ve been a runner-up before but never a winner. It is pretty fantastic to share the win with my fellow baseball-fan writers and friends! The anthology was a lot of fun to put together. I’m beside myself that it won the award.

HonorableMentionSM The Silence of the Stars won an honorable mention (that means the book received a score of 36 or above (out of 40) from at least one judge).

It was also the runner up (10th place) for the The William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance. That was a big, tough category—many really amazing books!—and I’m thrilled to have made the list of finalists.

Bonus: I was a judge for Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction, and this was also a pretty strong field. If you’re looking for a good lesbian read, you can’t really go wrong with any of these.

Here are all the winners! Congratulations to all!

Available Now: The Silence of the Stars

20140318-215505.jpgNow available for your reading pleasure, wherever you buy books, is The Silence of the Stars!

The sequel to The Stars that Tremble

Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.

Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press.

news briefs

Happy holidays, everyone! Here are a few things happening in 2014:

I’m reading at Lady Jane’s Salon on January 6th! If you can get yourself to Houston Street in NYC at 7pm, you should come! I’ll be reading from The Stars that Tremble.

Last week, I signed a contract for the sequel to The Stars that Tremble. It’ll be out late spring 2014. It’s called The Silence of the Stars and I pretty much put Sandy through the emotional ringer. I put up an unofficial blurb on the Upcoming page.

I just booked my hotel room for Liberty States (finally) and got my roommate situation sorted out for RT, so conventions are happening.

And I’m gearing up to take on the presidency of Rainbow Romance Writers on January 1st.

In the meantime, I spent December writing a very silly holiday novella that may be out next December? I always hate to predict these things before the ink is dry on the contract, especially for something like this that wasn’t in my schedule. I like this story, but it’s over-the-top happy holiday fluff, basically. Sometimes you need that, though.

Warm wishes to you and yours! Here’s to a stellar 2014!

GRL 2013 Wrap-Up

I can say, as someone who has been to every GRL, that each one has kind of a different vibe. For me, the six days I spent in Atlanta were busy and intense but also really wonderful and surprising and inspiring.

[I wrote this post Tuesday, and then thought, “I didn’t take any photos, so I’ll pull some off Facebook later,” then kept forgetting to go do that. If you are friends with any gay romance author on the Book of Faces, you’ve probably seen the photopalooza of the last few days and are totally sick of it, so this will be a texty review of events. I’ll paint pictures with words! (Ha, no, what am I, in a college creative writing class?) Here are my impressions as recorded Tuseday.]

This year, I got involved behind the scenes to help run the first ever Writers Workshop. The Workshop was run by Rainbow Romance Writers, for which I am the current president-elect, and it was intended to bring together writers to help share and foster talent. The whole event was a phenomenal success. It went more smoothly than I ever thought possible and we got nothing but positive feedback. Participants seemed to enjoy the classes—even my workshop on setting, although I felt like I got off to a slow start—and the pitch appointments ended up being a great surprise, with many writers doing their first ever pitches. I know some editors asked for partials and full manuscripts, so maybe the next big success will come of it.

I’ve already started talking to the GRL organizers about bringing it back next year, so stay tuned!

Somehow in all this, the Scarf Dance meme was created. Well, Damon Suede told a room full of people that I would be performing a scarf dance at the post-Workshop cocktail party, and people might have been disappointed that I just gave a short speech, but I did wave my arms a bit, and then Damon spent the rest of the week yelling “scarf dance!” at me.

(Phrase memes became a theme of the week. I roomed with Tere Michaels, and by the end, we were so tired, we were basically just speaking to each other in code. “Scarf dance?” “Clown!”)

Thursday morning, I went to the supporting author signing. I grabbed the sampler of stories by the supporting authors and carried it around to get signed by everyone. Putting that book together was a fantastic idea and gave me a good excuse to talk to all the authors there. I can’t wait to flip through it and read.

I volunteered to moderate, so I spent all of Thursday afternoon at the pub for readings. I moderated the very first session—Anne Tenino, Lloyd Meeker, and Shannon West, who were all fantastic—then I stuck around for Damon, Heidi Cullinan, and Deanna Wadsworth, then finally I read from The Stars that Tremble after readings from Jade Buchanan and Anna Zabo. (I heard later that while I was reading, TJ Klune proposed to Eric Arvin. Congrats, guys!)

Thursday night was the neon-themed Juke Joint party, a blast as always.

Friday morning, I did a storytelling panel on sports romance with Devon Rhodes and TA Chase, who are awesome and amazing and now I want to read their athletes series. (Obscure sports from around the world!)

Friday afternoon was the Fun Fair, including Scrapbooking with the Rainbow Romance Writers, which seemed to be a big hit. After doing all the prep work for that, I could go a while without seeing another glue stick, but we’re already talking about doing it again next year and extending the event to 2 hours instead of just 1 so readers have time to hit up every author.

At Dine with an Author, I wound up at a table tucked in the corner with Mr. Suede, but we had a fun little bunch of people. This was followed up by the Dreamspinner cocktail party, which was super classy! I really enjoyed seeing everyone all dressed up.

Saturday morning, I moderated the first session of readings—Jordan L. Hawk, P.D. Singer, and Angel Martinez, who, again, were all fantastic—then I crashed Tere Michaels’s panel on cop romances, which she did with Hank Edwards and Sylvia Violet. (Poor Tere had no voice by then.)

Saturday afternoon was the big book signing. Three hours is a lot and I had a terrible headache through most of it—not to be whiney—but it was great to see fans and talk to people I hadn’t been able to talk to up to that point in the convention.

Then there was a cocktail party and the Heaven & Hell Masquerade. I’m not really into wearing costumes, but I appreciate when other people do, and I really loved that party and how great some of those costumes were. My halo and angel wings were apparently not convincing, though. I can’t imagine why people weren’t buying the angel act. O:-)

There was brunch Sunday. I was busy trying to figure out how to ship leftover scrapbooking stuff and missed the photo booth, something I regret in retrospect. Then I flew home.

I worked yesterday, which wasn’t as bad as I expected, but today I am tiiiired.

My takeaways? I love this community of writers and readers so very much. I am SO EXCITED to get back to writing as soon as I have enough energy to do it. I have a towering virtual TBR pile on the Kindle with books written by authors I met and adored, so if I could have a week off to just read, that would be awesome. (My boss does not seem to like this idea.) And finally, I left with a lot of optimism for my tenure as RRW President in 2014. (I’m about 80% happy and excited and 20% abjectly terrified about taking over as president. I have some, er, big, loud shoes to fill. Perhaps my reign will be more understated but we’ll still kick ass and get a lot done as a chapter.)

Meet Me on the Moon

Well, not quite. But you CAN meet me at the Dreamspinner Goodreads group tomorrow afternoon (10/5) during my snazzy Meet the Author event. There will be excerpts and prizes and things, so drop in. We shall discuss The Stars that Tremble and why opera is pretty cool and maybe I’ll post photos of Swag City, which is what my dining room has become as I get ready for GayRomLit. Go here from 12–3pm EST.

Now Available: The Stars that Tremble

The Stars that TrembleThe Stars that Tremble is now available just about everywhere in ebook and paperback. Go forth and read!

Giovanni Boca was destined to go down in history as an opera legend until a vocal chord injury abruptly ended his career. Now he teaches voice lessons at a prestigious New York City music school. During auditions for his summer opera workshop, he finds his protégé in fourteen-year-old Emma McPhee. Just as intriguing to Gio is Emma’s father Mike, a blue-collar guy who runs a business renovating the kitchens and bathrooms of New York’s elite to finance his daughter’s dream.

Mike’s partner was killed when Emma was a toddler, and Gio mourns the beautiful voice he will never have again, so coping with loss is something they have in common. Their initial physical attraction quickly grows to something more as each hopes to fill the gap that loss and grief has left in his life. Although Mike wonders if he can truly fit into Gio’s upperclass world, their bond grows stronger. Then, trouble strikes from outside when the machinations of an unscrupulous stage mother threaten to tear Gio and Mike apart—and ruin Emma’s bright future.

More about the book, including an excerpt and the trailer.

The Stars that Tremble: Special Features

The Stars that TrembleOpera plays a huge role in The Stars that Tremble—the title comes from a line in a Puccini opera—so I thought I’d provide a little background in the event you are not an opera fan.

You’d be forgiven. My mother, a classically trained singer, was constantly trying to get us kids to listen to opera when I was growing up. I resisted. It was foreign-sounding and boring, I thought. Then, when I was in high school, I went to a performance of Puccini’s Turandot and suddenly I got it. My mom joined an opera company at the same time, so I went to all of her shows and that was the gateway drug, I suppose.

So here, I’ll show you a few of the key arias from The Stars that Tremble. Maybe you’ll still hate opera, or maybe I’ll convert you.

Giovanni Boca was once a great opera singer. His best-known performance was as Calaf in Turandot. It’s kind of a weird opera; the plot is complicated and stops making sense if you think about it too long. But Puccini’s music is brilliant. The third act opens with “Nessun Dorma,” an aria sung by Calaf in which he basically declares victory because he is confident he will win the Rumplestiltskin-esque challenge he has issued her (and thus her heart—I told you it doesn’t make any sense). The first line (translated) is: “None shall sleep, not even you, O Princess, who sit in your cold bedroom watching the stars that tremble with love and hope.” It’s probably one of the best known opera arias, so maybe it’s an obvious choice, but it still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. It’s just a beautiful piece of music.

Here’s Luciano Pavarotti performing it:

There’s a scene in the novel in which Gio teaches his class about coloratura opera. He plays “Der Holle Rache” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, also known as the Queen of the Night’s aria. This is the part Emma McPhee most wants to play. It’s an incredibly difficult piece to sing. My mom had a tape of Mozart opera highlights that she kept in her car when I was growing up, so this was a piece of music I heard all the time; we called it “the crazy aria” for a long time.

This is from a production of The Magic Flute at the Metropolitan opera:

Some of the other arias Emma sings over the course of the novel include:

“Si, mi chiamano Mimi” (“Yes, they call me Mimi”) from La Boheme (Puccini):

“Ah, Fors’é Lui” (“Ah, maybe it’s him”) from La Traviata (Verdi):

The Stars that Tremble is out September 30. See the trailer and read an excerpt.

five things on friday

I have been remiss in doing these wrap-up posts all summer! The cause is a strange combination of either being too busy to post or just not having much going on. More of the former, honestly; August just zoomed on by and then was over and I was left crying all, “But, Mom, I don’t want to go to school.” Even though I was totally that kid who got all giddy right before school started, although this was in part because I love shopping and a new school year obviously meant that I had to buy cute clothes and school supplies. (I still remember the outfit I wore on my first day of high school. I bought the exact outfit that was on a mannequin at Nordstrom’s, and it involved plaid pants because it was the 90s. Incidentally, all the hipster girls in Brooklyn are dressing now the way I did then—lots of ugly floral dresses paired with clunky boots—and it is freaking me out.) (Also, I still get excited about school supplies. Who has two thumbs and bought special pens just for book signings? This girl.)

Anyway! I have news and also thoughts on things, so here are 5 items of interest, in no particular order:

1. If you missed the Twitter announcement, The Stars that Tremble is now available for pre-order! The book is out 9/30.

2. I’m skipping town this weekend. Well, I’m taking my mom to Philly as a birthday present. My immediate family has lived on the East Coast for thirty years—and for a while, we lived in the part of Jersey that is spitting distance from Philly—and somehow my mother, a history buff, has never been. So we’re gonna go be nerds together. My brother and his wife are joining us later in the weekend, and it will basically be a history nerd convention. (True story: My brother finished a masters in history earlier this year and now does historical tours of New York City.)

3. My roommate went to Europe last week and I tried to curb my intense jealousy by watching all 15 hours of the Simon Schama History of Britain documentary. Now I really want to go to the UK. The documentary is really good if you like history documentaries; Schama has a dry sense of humor that I enjoyed and I learned a lot of new things. But even in 15 hours, there was a lot of stuff that got skipped or glossed over. And it was still a poor substitute for actually going to Europe. (At least my roommate brought me back a box of chocolates from Buckingham Palace. They’re very fancy.)

I also watched a PBS American Experience episode about the Stonewall riots that is worth your time. It’s available streaming. (I watched it on Amazon Prime video.)

4. I’m reading mostly nonfiction lately, too. Maybe I really do miss school! Right now, I’m reading a book about NYC in the bad old days of the 1960s. It’s giving me lots of story ideas, but I’m nervous about writing about a period of time that people still living remember but about which I have no first-hand knowledge. I’d hate to get something egregiously wrong. I’m also about halfway through a book on prostitution in New York in the 19th Century. So much sin in the Big Apple!

I’ve got a lot of train riding on the schedule for this weekend, so lots of reading time. I packed 2 books and my iPad, which should be sufficient. (I have a weird phobia about being stuck somewhere with nothing to read.)

5. Some of my GRL swag got delivered this week. So far, I have bookmarks, pin-back buttons, and a big sign for my signing table. I’m trying to come up with an awesome one-of-a-kind, everybody-will-want swag item, but I’m not thinking up anything (or at least, I haven’t come up with anything that won’t blow my budget). Swag is so hard. I don’t want to spend money on something that will swiftly end up in the trash. What will people actually keep?