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.

Winner!

The winner of the Rafflecopter giveaway was Kelly J! Let’s trot out the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees to celebrate!

The World Series Champion 2009 Yankees

Thanks so much for playing, guys! The response to this contest was way more than what I was expecting!

If you did not win, don’t despair! As of right now (6:30pm Sunday) you can still get The Windup (Rainbow League #1) for 99¢ at the Dreamspinner site for a few more hours! So get yours!

Baseball Mondays: Mustaches

Baseball MondaysSure, baseball is a game of strategy and statistics, of skill and athleticism, of nail-biting pitchers’ duels and home-run glory. But I want to talk today about another crucial part of the game: facial hair.

I took some delight when, earlier this year, my beloved Yankees started growing mustaches during a winning streak. There was magical power in those mustaches. The Yankees grew them… and kept winning. These things must be related.

So can we take a moment to discuss the city of Cincinnati’s All-Star Game celebration, which consists of putting giant mustaches all over the city? Because it’s kind of my favorite thing right now.

Mustaches in Cincinnati from @AllStarGame on Twitter.

Mustaches in Cincinnati from @AllStarGame on Twitter.

Here’s a little more info.

If it were not already clear, I have a thing about baseball mustaches. They’re so old-timey and whimsical. I mean…

Circa 1870s

Circa 1870s

Anybody else have opinions on baseball mustaches? For my money, the greatest one of all time was Rollie Fingers’ curly-cued beauty. I mean, get a load of this mustache.

Rollie Fingers

Rollie Fingers

Pretty glorious, right? I’m willing to entertain alternate candidates in the comments.

If you need more, there’s a whole Baseball Mustaches tumblr. It makes me happy.

If you want more hot baseball action (sadly lacking in mustaches) The Windup and Thrown a Curve are now available just about everywhere.

The Windup is now available!

The WindupToday’s the day! The Windup is NOW AVAILABLE wherever you buy ebooks. It’s out in ebook and paperback now. You can buy it from Dreamspinner or add it on Goodreads or find it at Amazon and B&N and all those places. You can also check out the Rainbow League series page for more info about the whole series, including future books (out later this year) and the teams and players.

I’m super excited. I hope you guys love the book!

The blurb:

Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.

Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.

Baseball Monday: Barnstorming Tour

Baseball Mondays[Updated with links!]

I don’t know if you can call the mini blog tour I’m launching for The Windup this week a “barnstorming,” exactly, but let’s pretend. If you want to get another peek at the book before you read it, you can go to these places:

First, I wrote a post last week for Romance at Random in which I recommended some (het) baseball romances. Do you guys have favorite baseball romances, gay, straight, or in between?

RL BlogTourCard-01This week, there will be stops in these places (links to come once posts go up):

Thursday 4/23: Joyfully Jay (The tale of how the series came to be.)
Saturday 4/25: The Novel Approach (Character interview with Ty.)
Thursday 4/30: Prism Book Alliance (on baseball as setting)

If you guys have comments, questions, answers, whatever, please share in the comments. We’ll get excited for the book launch together! The book is out Friday 4/24 and can be preordered from Dreamspinner. To tide you over, I’ve got a Pinterest board with all sorts of baseball goodies on it.

Baseball Monday: Winner!

The winner of the Baseball Monday giveaway was:

Angela!

Let us all take a moment to celebrate with the World Series Champion 2009 Yankees!

The World Series Champion 2009 Yankees

I’m doing a small blog tour for the book closer to the release date, so there may be more chances to win, or you can get a copy of The Windup for your very own on April 24 from most online booksellers.

I’ll keep up with the Baseball Monday posts at least throughout April because I’ve been having fun writing them. So come back next week!

It’s worth noting that today is opening day! My fantasy team is killing it already; I took a “I shouldn’t put a guy on my team just because I like him” approach, because that put me in dead last place last year. I’m currently in first; we’ll see if that lasts.

In the meantime, here’s some hot link action:

Add The Windup on Goodreads | Pre-order The Windup from Dreamspinner Press | Subscribe to my newsletter to be informed when the book is available. | I’m on Pinterest and have put up a Rainbow League board!

Baseball Mondays: Meet the Rainbow League Teams

Baseball MondaysBefore I even wrote a word of the Rainbow League series, I sat down one afternoon and came up with eight teams. I assigned each team a geographic neighborhood, either a borough or a neighborhood. So we have the Bronx Bombshells (a play on the Bronx Bombers), the Brooklyn Hipsters, and the Queens representing the outer boroughs. The other five teams are from neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn: the West Village, SoHo, and Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan; Park Slope and Coney Island in Brooklyn. Some neighborhoods I picked because they have large gay populations, but some I picked just because they made good puns or team names. And some of the teams I came up with originally didn’t make the cut. I spent a lot of times making puns, basically.

You can learn more about all eight teams by checking out the teams & players page.

HipstersCardThe team we spend the most time with in the first three books is the Brooklyn Hipsters. The team is captained by Josh, who is on the Rainbow League’s governing board. Josh is married to a burly Italian guy named Tony who doesn’t play baseball. In Book 1, Josh’s high school friend Ian moves to town, so Josh talks Ian into joining the team in order to meet new people. Ian meets Ty. Hijinks ensue. Their teammate Mason is a former professional player who left the Yankees because of an injury—Mason’s one of the heroes of Book 2. And Carlos and Nate play alongside them; they are best friends who grew up together in the Bronx. They’re the heroes of Book 3.

One of the things I like about team sports as a subject for a novel is that there’s a natural camaraderie between teammates. I figured it made sense to have most of the series centered on one team. The beauty of this world, though, is that there’s a potential for more books, and the groundwork is here for the players from other teams to have their own romances.

Anyone play for a team? Or can you think of a punny name for a team based in your home town?

By the way, if you missed it last week, The Windup (Book 1) is available for pre-order from Dreamspinner. The book will be available April 24.

And this is the LAST WEEK to enter the giveaway. I’ll announce a winner next Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Windup (Rainbow League Book 1) is now available for pre-order!

The WindupAvailable April 24, 2015!

Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.

Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid-back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.

Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press!

Add it on Goodreads!

Baseball Monday: COVER REVEAL For Rainbow League Book 1

Baseball MondaysAre you ready? Do you want to see the lovely, gorgeous, amazing cover for the first Rainbow League book, The Windup?

Well, first, here’s the blurb:

Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.

Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.

And now, THE COVER!

The Windup

I <3 it. I've put blurbs up for all 3 books on the Rainbow League page.

And it’s Monday, so don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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. 🙂