Now Available: What There Is

BMMmzbmCUAA7N6N.jpg_largeMy short novella What There Is is now available from Dreamspinner Press and an ebook retailer near you. The blurb:

Former professional baseball player Justin Piersol needs a new life after a career-ending injury, and his job as a high school baseball coach isn’t exactly fulfilling. Still, things are looking up: he finds the perfect room in an apartment in Brooklyn with Mark, who writes a popular column on sports statistics.

Mark is nerdy and socially awkward and intensely shy, and he immediately develops a terrible crush on Justin, who barely seems to notice him. As they get to know each other, Justin admits he misses playing baseball, that coaching doesn’t scratch the itch. Mark confesses he thought he’d be married by now, that he wants a serious relationship. So they make a pact: Justin will help Mark find a man, and Mark will help Justin find something he loves more than baseball.

They put their plan into action… and then life gets complicated. Mark meets a nice guy named Dave, and Justin is suddenly crazy with jealousy. Justin realizes he wants to let go of the past and focus on the present, but as Mark and Dave become an item, Justin fears he’s too late.

Happy reading!

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

This is a drowsy five things. I’m really tired. Zzz. But here’s what happened this week:

1. Thanks to everyone who bought and read Save the Date! It got all the way up to #2 on the All Romance eBooks bestseller list and has been on the Amazon top 100 for Gay Romance for the last week and a half or so, which I appreciate. I hope you all are liking the book!

BMMmzbmCUAA7N6N.jpg_large2. What There Is has a gorgeous cover done by L.C. Chase. Look for that (I think) next month. I just finished first edits on Monday. It’s a short (about 15K words) fluffy, sweet story, mostly about a guy who can’t play baseball anymore.

3. Ripped from the headlines: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here before, but one of my childhood best friends is currently DOMA exiled (he spent some time post-college gallivanting around Europe and fell in love with a Czech man; they currently live together in a large European city because the husband couldn’t get a visa to stay in the US). He’s been on my mind as the new immigration bill gets debated; I miss him a lot but totally get why he doesn’t want to live in the States.

4. I’m apparently procrastinating from my actual deadline by writing a new story, a contemporary that is super angsty! But my other WIP is a historical, which I am doggedly pursuing despite the fact that everyone is telling me the historical is dead. Which I suppose brings to mind the age-old problem of writing whatever the hell you want without regard for how much money you’ll make (which is generally how I try to operate, although the royalty checks are NICE, don’t get me wrong) and trying to have realistic expectations versus doing what the market demands. I can tell you I do a lot better with contemporaries than paranormals, but I’m not really known as a paranormal author, and I feel like Across the East River Bridge and Show and Tell are light in the paranormal elements. (AERB remains one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, though.) I dunno. I love historicals; you may have gleaned from reading AERB that I’m also a huge history nerd, so I suppose those go hand-in-hand.

5. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately. Currently I’m wending my way through a history of Regency England (Our Tempestuous Day) and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, both of which are really enjoyable in different ways.

five things on friday: BEA and Save the Date

Weekly wrap-up!

1. Save the Date came out on Tuesday! It is now available at most ebook retailers. *dances*

2. It’s Kate McMurray Week at the Armchair Reader. Cole has bravely embarked on the task of reading my entire backlist. We also did an interview that was posted yesterday. Follow the link to all of the posts and leave a comment on the interview to win a copy of the book.

3. Other places I have been this week:

• I wrote a post for the All Romance eBooks cafe blog for Pride Month
• I guest-posted at Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House.
• Today I’m at Flirty Author Bitches.

*The last two are stops on the Big Gay Wedding tour. Leave a comment at either to be entered to win a copy of Save the Date.

4. I missed posting last Friday because I was at Book Expo America. It was an interesting experience. Plenty of people have wrapped it up better than me, but I can tell you what I did there, which was a) sweat a lot because, as a friend of mine said, it was hot as balls outside; b) gave away a ton of books at the Dreamspinner booth; c) got some really amazing books and ARCs from around the exhibition hall; d) made some good editorial contacts; e) hung out with some awesome people; f) fangirled on some authors; g) saw celebrities, including Chelsea Handler, Julianne Moore, and Grumpy Cat.

5. I’m currently working on edits for What There Is, a short novella coming out this summer. It started out as a baseball story, but it ended up being about a former baseball player who wants to find something else to do with his life. It’s been a little bit of a struggle because I’ve been out for the count with a nasty cold most of the week, but I’m feeling much better today so I can concentrate on these edits. I saw a cover mock up yesterday and it’s gorgeous.

And that’s a wrap for this week. See you next week!

five things stand with boston

Here’s my weekly wrap-up post for what ended up being a WEEK.

1. Storytime! When I was 19, my boyfriend at the time took me to Boston for New Years. He grew up in the Boston suburbs—though most of his family was from the city proper and had the accents to prove it—so he knew a lot of people in the area and we met up with a group of his friends. Boston does a First Night celebration with short concerts and comedy shows and that kind of thing all over the city in various venues. It gets crowded, so I think we spent more of that night waiting on line to get into theaters than we did actually watching entertainment. This was long enough ago that my memory is a little fuzzy, but I do remember running across Boston Common in the cold and getting lost down odd side streets trying to find a theater playing some jazz and stumbling into a diner late because we were cold and hungry. Toward the end of the night, we found a good spot to watch the fireworks, and at midnight, my boyfriend kissed me and told me he loved me, and that was the first time anyone had kissed me at midnight on New Years and really meant it.

I lived in Massachusetts for a while, but I’m a New Yorker at heart, and we New Yorkers derive a fair amount of pleasure from ragging on Boston. But when I heard the news on Monday about the bombing, one of the first things I remembered was that First Night in Boston and how magical it was. I’ve spent a lot of time in Boston over the years and that city holds a lot of great memories for me. I watched a lot of news coverage Monday night and couldn’t stop thinking about how things would change for Boston now, how the city was different, how this memory would now be embedded in one of my favorite Boston neighborhoods.

The last third of my upcoming novella Save the Date actually takes place in Boston.

Because, on that night when I was 19, what I didn’t know was that this man and I would spend the next decade either together or negotiating how to be together until we reached a crossroads and finally ended it. I didn’t know that, in the fall of 2012, I’d be getting an invitation to his wedding to another woman. I didn’t know a joke I made about that on a thing called Twitter would turn into this really silly novella about a guy whose ex gets married in Boston. All I knew that night when we kissed at midnight under the fireworks was that we were young and in love and had a whole future ahead of us. Even if the relationship didn’t work out, it’s still a fond memory.

So, I’m thinking about donating some of the proceeds from the sale of Save the Date to One Fund Boston or the Red Cross or something. I feel like that’s really the least I can do for a city that gave me a lot.

2. The bad news has kind of overshadowed the good, which was that I had a blast last weekend at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York. Heidi Cullinan and Ethan Day flew out for it, and we had locals Damon Suede and Tere Michaels at the table, too, and they are all great and I enjoyed myself immensely. The change in venue from last year didn’t seem to slow down traffic much. Well, it felt a little roomier than in past years to me, but people kept pointing out that the room was about the same size, so maybe I’m crazy. But that was a good day.

3. Save the Date second edits went back to my Loose Id editor last night. The pub date for that is June 4th! Also, I posted what I now see is an awkwardly-worded blurb for my next story after that, a short novella called What There Is, to my Upcoming page. A blurb for Save the Date is there, too. There will be updated blurbs and covers and things as I get them.

4. On Tuesday, I had dinner with a friend in the West Village. We ate at a place on Bleecker that serves a few dozen varieties of risotto, then we visited a new bakery that specializes in macarons (we had to check this place out… for science), and then on the walk back to the subway, we passed a little shop that only serves popsicles. I should open a cafe that only serves one thing. Ideas? Maybe a bakery that only makes whoopie pies?

5. Those of you who are attending GayRomLit may be delighted to know that there are still spots left in the writers workshop, which yours truly is now helping to coordinate in my capacity as VP of Rainbow Romance Writers. It’s shaping up to be a pretty cool event. A schedule will be posted to the website once we’ve confirmed and finalized everything.

So that’s all the news this week. Let’s hope next week is a lot less terrible.

five things on friday: tuck it away

Weekly wrap up…

1. Shiny New Book! I signed a contract yesterday for a short novella due out sometime this summer called “What There Is.” I’ll update the Upcoming page accordingly sometime this weekend, but sneaky sneak preview: The story is about an ex-professional baseball player who can’t play anymore due to injury. He moves into an apartment with a nerdy, socially awkward roommate. There are hijinks.

2. The Rainbow Book Fair is next Saturday in NYC. I’ll be there with a bunch of other m/m writers. Stop by if you’re in the area!

3. Any RuPaul’s Drag Race fans here? On Saturday, I went to a live show in New York that featured 6 queens from seasons current and past. (Pandora Boxx, Mimi Imfurst, and Carmen Carrera representing the past, Alaska Thunderfuck, Ivy Winters, and Jinkx Monsoon represent the current.) Michelle Visage hosted the event, and each queen did a couple of numbers. Pandora did a bit of stand-up in which somehow she randomly picked me out of the audience to make fun of, and that was a little surreal. And I have to say, I am now totally Team Jinkx this season; she really blew me away at the live show. (She did three numbers: first, she came out as Little Edie and sang (sang, not lip-synced!) “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis; then she sang “A Little Priest” from Sweeney Todd but changed the words to be about gay archetypes—”Try a little twink” etc.—and tossed cupcakes at the audience; and she wrapped up by singing a duet of the title song from Cabaret with Alaska.) The show was super fun, the audience was really lively, and I had a blast. Although, we had standing tickets, and this was how I learned that I am too old to go to concerts where I have to stand for 3 hours.

4. Speaking of RuPaul, this song came up on shuffle on my iPod this morning, and so it is the official song of the day:

5. Baseball season started Monday!!!!!!