Coming Soon: The Stars that Tremble

The Stars that TrembleConsider this your cover reveal. Here is the lovely cover for The Stars that Tremble by Aaron Anderson. The novel is tentatively scheduled to be published on September 30th.

Blurb:

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.

You can now add the book on Goodreads!

And here is the EPIC book trailer:

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?

5 things on friday are coming soon

I usually use this space to wrap-up my week, talking about 5 things I’ve been doing or reading or thinking about. Since I’ve had a not terribly exciting week, I thought I would instead talk about 5 writing projects I’m working on. Most of these are not contracted yet, so these are like sneaky-sneaky previews of what you may see in 2014 and 2015.

1. Let’s get the upcoming publications out of the way first. Due out this fall from Dreamspinner:

One Man to Remember—[part of the Playing Ball anthology I’m doing with Shae Connor, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe (2/3 of whom I got to see in Atlanta last week!] This is a historical novella set in 1927 (my first published historical, you guys!) in which a talented but media-shy rookie falls in love with a flamboyant sports reporter.

The Stars that Tremble—Here’s hoping readers feel about opera the same way they did about baseball—this is an emotional opposites attract romance between a former opera star and a contractor who renovates kitchens.

More detailed blurbs for both of these are available on the upcoming page.

2. I’ve written here before about how I suck at writing sequels. I often sit down to write one, get 5 or 6,000 words into it, and then lose all interest. Books for which I have done this: I started a sequel to In Hot Pursuit in which one hero is Noah’s police partner and is tasked with tracking down Harry’s infant nephew while also hooking up with a sexy FBI agent; Neal from The Boy Next Door was always supposed to have his own book, but I don’t have it quite right yet; there’s a sequel to Blind Items in which Drew and Rey produce a play together and there’s a subplot about the lead actor. After I kept crashing and burning with the TBND sequel, I swore off sequels, but people were clamoring for something after Blind Items. (And I get it. The book ends at a specific moment and I thought the story was over, but after the fact I regretted not writing an epilogue. Things work out for Drew and Jonathan! I promise!)

Anyhoo. Here we are again. I put a character in The Stars that Tremble named Sandy, and he sort of took over every scene he’s in, and I cannot deny that the epilogue is deliberately kind of sequel-bait-y, and… well, you’ll see. And then every single person, from betas to editors, who has breathed near the manuscript has been like, “When does Sandy get his own book? I want that yesterday!” So, fine, Sandy is getting his own book. I’ve written about 10,000 words of it so far. So I broke the 6K wall!

The gist: Sandy is a veteran of the global war on terror. He received a medical discharge from the army after he took some shrapnel to the should when he ran into a car bomb in Afghanistan. (I think. I’m still kind of working out this part.) So he’s got some PTSD but is in deep denial about having PTSD and he uses humor and his sunny personality to deflect attention from the fact that he’s hurting pretty badly inside. He meets a super hot violinist named Everett and they start fucking and it’s supposed to just be fun until feelings get involved. And then we have some sweet, delicious conflict.

I think the world of the Olcott School, where Gio from The Stars that Tremble and Everett from the unnamed sequel are both teachers, could be ripe for stories. There could be a New Adult story involving musical prodigies, for example. Lots of possibilities! So we’ll see about that.

3. I’m finishing up a Jazz Age historical about a vaudeville dancer and a mid-level Mob boss that’s a lot darker than the stuff I usually write. I’m so glad I’m in the home stretch with this one, because I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now. (So much research! Although that’s part of why I was able to write One Man to Remember quickly; I had a lot of the period research in my brain already.) I don’t have a title yet, and this has been the source of much contemplation and agony on my part, but soon, my pretties, soon I will have something more to say about that, I hope.

4. I started writing this crazy contemporary about a month ago that’s an angsty friends-to-lovers set in New York. It has some Unpopular Themes. I feel like this is my, “Just as everyone started complaining about Trope 1 and Trope 2 in romance novel, I got this plot bunny that includes all of them!” novel. So!

5. At RWA, I attended a workshop taught by two of my favorite authors, Eloisa James and Sarah MacLean, on writing series, which I’ve never seriously attempted but very much want to. I mentioned as much to Damon Suede later that evening, and he was like, “You’re the baseball girl. You should write a baseball series.” And then we ran with that. So on Tuesday, I bought a new notebook and started mapping out what I want the series to look like. I think the only way to do this successfully is to actually plan at least the first three books. And because I’m a plotter and NOT a pantser, I plan to outline those suckers first. So I’ve got part of an outline for the first book in a series about a gay amateur baseball league.

So that is the state of my WIPs!

five things? five things!

Hey, it’s Friday. Let’s wrap up the week.

BMMmzbmCUAA7N6N.jpg_large1. What There Is will be available July 31 and is available for pre-order now from the Dreamspinner site. It’s kind of my take on a jock-nerd romance. There’s baseball and cooking and statistics geekery. It’s only 15,000 words, so it’s more a tasty snack than a meal, but I hope you all enjoy it!

2. I hope you Americans all had a fabulous 4th of July. Mine’s pretty low-key, because I have a ton of work to do, but I’m enjoying the four-day weekend. 🙂

3. I like this quote from Mark Twain that I found yesterday:

My books are water: those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water.

I think you could make a similar analogy between genre fiction and literary fiction. (Genre fiction is water. Which is still awesome and essential.)

4. So edits for BOTH of my fall releases came in this week so I am DOING ALL THE EDITS. Luckily, the editor seems to have really loved my historical baseball novella, One Man to Remember, which will be available as part of the anthology I’m doing with Shae Connor, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe. So that’s been relatively painless. But baseball + the Jazz Age = giddy Kate, so I had fun writing it. Hopefully that shows.

I haven’t looked at the edits for The Stars that Tremble yet; that’s a full novel about a former opera singer who falls for a blue-collar guy and there’s a LOT of opera in it (file under: semi-obscure things Kate is nerdy about).

Tangent: the cable channel H2 has a series called “How Sex Changed the World”; there was a recent episode that had a segment on castrati, or opera singers who were castrated pre-puberty. The lack of testosterone meant these men were quite effeminate—softer features, high voices—but they also were treated like rock stars (in other words, fame and lots of sex) all across Europe. I bet if it weren’t so barbaric, that would still get some mileage today. My mother is on the board of directors for a choir that performed an oratorio last year or the year before that had a solo part written for castrato. They hired this guy who is a high tenor but could still hit all the notes (as far as I know, his equipment was still in tact). All the women in the choir were totally in love with him. Even my mom fangirled a little at the post-concert cocktail reception. So there you go.

5. I’m sitting on a post about writing, let’s say, unpopular themes. I just churned out 45,000 words of ANGST in about two and a half weeks, and it was tough for me to turn off the voice in my head that was like, “But your readers will hate this,” but I plowed forward anyway, and I really love this story and these characters. Like, I had to finish the first draft yesterday morning before I could move on to working on stuff for my more pressing deadlines.

Given the latest Internet kerfuffle in the m/m world, I thought it was especially relevant to talk about, but I don’t have the time to give it the thought it needs at the moment. Maybe I’ll get that up next week when I have less on my plate. Generally, I think it’s better for writers to push boundaries and try new things and, yes, maybe write books people don’t like so that we don’t just get the same book over and over again.

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: win a book!

Weekly wrap up!

BGW400x2001. This week’s stops on the Big Gay Wedding Tour include:

• Romance Lives Forever
Kay Berrisford

I also posted to the RWA NYC blog.

You can comment in any of these places to enter to win a copy of the book. I think these will all be open at least through the end of the weekend.

2. Second edits on What There Is went back last night and I got an email that The Stars that Tremble is next up in the queue, so I’m a busy bee. I’m also alternating work on 2 other WIPs. I like it, though! It’s a little crazy-making to have so many projects going at once, but I’m enjoying it.

3. Thing I Learned This Week: I talked one of my co-workers into giving me a crash course on Adobe Illustrator, and had a “Wow, this does all the things I wish Photoshop did!” moment. I don’t think of myself as a designer really, but I do a lot of my own graphics (for the website and for swag; I did the Big Gay Wedding Tour banners, too). So that is useful information.

4. So True Blood has gone totally off the rails, huh? The show has always had a certain trashy charm, but some of these storylines have gone in some crazy directions, and I just don’t know anymore. Why can’t I quit you, sexy vampires?

5. My RWA swag came in the mail last night. Just postcards, nothing super exciting. I’m working on my swag plan for GRL—there will be cool stuff, I promise! I’m thinking about making my own plushy baseballs. We’ll see how that goes!

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: Friday at Last

Weekly wrap-up:

1. Yup, I read Lover at Last. I liked it on the whole, but had some very mixed feelings. I posted a wordy review on Goodreads if you want my opinion.

I have probably a stand-alone post about the increase in m/m stories infiltrating the mainstream romance market, but not the time to write it right now. Generally, though, I find this really exciting, and you know, if fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series are like, “Hey, that was pretty hot!” well, I have some recommendations.

Speaking of series, I now must await the next Cut and Run book, although maybe I’ll take the time to savor that one instead of trying to read it all over two days when I really should have been doing other things.

Hi, yes, I did go to some Harry Potter midnight release parties back before those suckers could be delivered magically to my Kindle.

2. I want to write a series. Maybe I will!

The thing with a series is that I think certain sub-genres tend to work better. Paranormal seems particularly well-suited to series books. So does suspense (especially law enforcement and military stories). I had a crazy idea last fall for a paranormal series about supernatural crime fighters that’s pretty far outside of my wheelhouse but totally the sort of thing I would read. Maybe some day. (I wrote an outline for the series, so this is a thing I may revisit next year.)

Or I could try to write a contemporary series. Do people like contemporary series’ or do you need more bells and whistles to sustain your interest? Anyone have good examples of contemporary series’?

3. Writing updates: Edits are currently going for Save the Date, my romantic comedy novella coming out in June. I finished a second draft of The Stars that Tremble before I took my Lover at Last break. So, Draft #3 ahoy!

4. Baseball season starts next week! My fantasy league did its draft on Wednesday and I have a pretty good lineup, I think, except half of these guys are starting out the season injured. Womp womp. I lucked into my #1 draft pick for hitters (Robinson Cano) and my baseball boyfriend (Joe Mauer… he’s so dreamy) is on the team, too, but didn’t do so well with pitchers, so we’ll see how that shakes out.

5. As a parting gift, relive my trauma with me: I was innocently reading on my sofa last night when my cat trotted in with something in her mouth. At first I thought it was one of her little toy mice, but then I realized that it was a for-real, actual mouse. My cat then proudly hopped up on the sofa and dropped the mouse in my lap, at which time I promptly got up, screamed a whole lot, and hopped up and down. No idea where the mouse went. I hope it crawled back into the wall and will tell all its mousey friends what happens to mice that wander into my apartment.

In the seven years I’ve been in this apartment, I’ve never seen any pests before. Good to know the cat will catch mice. I don’t think she understands they aren’t toys, though.

So that was my week. How was yours?

five things on friday

Wrap it up, week!

1. I leave in a few hours for the wilds of New Jersey for the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference. If you’re in the area, the book fair Saturday evening is open to the public. I’m excited; I’ve heard from past attendees that it’s a fun conference. And I’m really excited about the lineup of workshops and attending authors.

2. Speaking of conventions, I registered for GayRomLit last weekend. I’ll be attending as a featured author. I am super excited about that, too! I’m helping out a bit with the writers workshop, too, and I think that will be a really great event as well.

3. I finished a draft of my opera singer novel, tentatively titled The Stars that Tremble. I still need to write the epilogue and I have a lot of revision work to do, but the first draft is basically done, so woo!

4. I bought a lot of accessories this week; I guess I was feeling too plain. I now own a couple of pairs of sexy shoes and some funky new jewelry. These things make me happy.

5. I’m still reading a lot of nonfiction, but it’s all pretty good stuff. The problem I’m having right now is that I’m reading, like, five books at once and so not finishing any of them. (And then last Sunday, I had dinner at my brother’s place and borrowed another book. It’s a problem I have.)

Next Best Thing—The Stars that Tremble

My writers group buddy Maria Granovsky tagged me to do another Next Best Thing post. (If you like thrillers, she wrote a good one.)

Without further ado, let’s talk about my WIP:

What is the working title of your next book?
My current WIP is currently titled The Stars that Tremble. The title comes from a line in Puccini’s opera Turandot.

usa_nyc_metropolitanopera_6Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’d been toying around with ideas for an opposites-attract romance. I’m not sure exactly where I got the idea, but I thought it would be interesting to pair together an opera singer and a construction worker. I liked the contrast of an art form mostly associated with the upper classes and a blue-collar working man.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary gay romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm. Well, in my head, Mike (the construction worker) kinda looks like Thomas Roberts. Gio (the opera singer) is, I think, maybe an older Zachary Quinto but, like, with Pavarotti sensibilities? If that even makes sense?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Retired opera singer finds his next protege… and her father. *dramatic music*

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
To be determined. I’m putting off making that decision until the manuscript is done.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Still writing, but it’s almost done. According to my records, I started this on December 17. I’ll probably finish the first draft within the next couple of weeks.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I hate to compare! I’m not sure that there are any other m/m romances about opera singers (although please correct me if I’m wrong). The first book that popped into my head was Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan, which I think is really different in tone and sensibility, but has a similar opposites-attract dynamic between high art and lower brow athleticism. But this is kind of a trick question, because I’m also trying to write a book you haven’t quite seen before.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, the opera singer came first. My mother is a classically trained singer who was in a small opera company for a while when I was a teenager. She’s always loved opera and played it all the time at home (and when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my hands over my ears all, “Aw, mom, again?” but as an adult I gained a real appreciation for it). I mention a bunch of arias on the manuscript, some of which are my favorites and some of which my mother played all the time when I was growing up. (She’s partial to Mozart. I love Puccini.)

I go to the Metropolitan Opera once a year or so, and sometimes we manage to score orchestra seats and sit with the classy uppercrust people in tuxes and ballgowns, and more often we sit in the Dress Circle with the hoi polloi (that’s the mezzanine that’s up around Jupiter, in terms of distance from the stage). Actually, the last time I went, I saw La Boheme and, sweartagod, the twenty-something girls sitting in front of us actually said at some point, “Wow, the plot is just like Rent!” (My eyeballs were in danger of falling out of my head, I rolled them so hard. And I love Rent as someone who loves musicals and came of age in the 90s is required to do, but come on now.)

So, yeah. Somehow I decided that the perfect man for my opera singer was a man who can’t tell a credenza from an aria and loves Lady Gaga.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The book is partly about loss, but it’s not sad.

Gio has lost his voice due to a vocal injury. Mike has lost his partner. Both are a few years removed from their loss, so it doesn’t dominate the narrative, but that experience is an important part of both characters. It’s also their common ground. So that’s kind of the gimmick, for what it’s worth.

If I sell this one, details will be forthcoming.