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.

New York at Christmas—Sales, etc.

I’ve been procrastinating over the last couple of days by building this mega Christmas playlist, so I’ve been browsing Spotify for songs, and I’ve noticed there are a lot of songs about New York at Christmas. With good reason; New York has some magic to it at Christmas time. Truth be told, though, I’ve gotten a little cynical the last few years.

For example, this weekend, I went with my sister-in-law to the Union Square holiday market. It was mobbed. I always get nervous there because I got my pocket picked there once a few years ago. But we had a good time and found a lot of good gifts for our family members. Saturday was also SantaCon, an increasingly insane New York tradition wherein 20-somethings dress like Santa and barhop around the city—it’s like St. Patrick’s Day with Santa suits instead of green, and it goes on all day. It’s one of those things I used to find funny, but when we went to lunch, we saw a girl in a Santa suit already totally wasted… at 2 in the afternoon.

But big crowds and drunk Santas notwithstanding, there’s still some magic in the lights and the decorations and some busker playing “Silver Bells” in the subway, and that’s something I try to capture when I write holiday stories set in New York.

So, all that said, two announcements:

ChristmasinNewYork_DSPsite1. Dreamspinner Press is celebrating Christmas in New York by putting a bunch of romance novels set in New York on sales for $1 each through the 18th. So you can get your mitts on When the Planets Align, my angsty friends-to-lovers tale, for cheap!

You can also pre-order my upcoming holidays-in-NYC story Devin December from just about anywhere: Dreamspinner, Amazon, All Romance eBooks, etc. A flight attendant and a movie star get snowed in at LaGuardia in the first part, and get to know each other in NYC during December before they have to decide whether to step out of the bubble of the holidays together or let their holiday affair fizzle.

I wish you and yours a stupendous holiday season, no matter what you celebrate!

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. 🙂

Meet Michael and Simon from When the Planets Align!

Meet Michael and Simon!

When the Planets Align Michael

Michael Reeves

When the Planets Align Simon

Simon Newell

Michael is outgoing and confident, but a bit scatterbrained. Simon is shy but smart and practical. Their friendship has endured despite their differences, but now they’re at a crossroads: when Simon returns to New York City after running around the world and away from Michael for a few years, how do they reconcile and build a new relationship?

When the Planets Align is the story of the relationship between Simon and Michael over about fifteen years of friendship, in which they care for each other, hurt each other, and fall in love with each other.

You can buy it now from most bookstores.

Dreamspinner Press (25% off until December 25!)
Amazon
All Romance eBooks

When the Planets Align is now available!

Out today from Dreamspinner Press:

When the Planets Align

When the Planets Align

Best friends Michael Reeves and Simon Newell always lived within ten minutes of each other, but somehow they’re never in the same place at the same time.

Brash, outgoing Michael’s unwavering confidence that he and Simon are meant to be carries him through some hard times. When Simon moves to New York, Michael dutifully follows. Quiet, practical Simon loves Michael as a dear friend, but he’s not ready for anything romantic.

Several years and several failed relationships later, Simon realizes he’s been in love with Michael all along. Only now Michael has moved on. Though Simon offers everything Michael’s ever dreamed of, the timing is all wrong. Confusion, betrayal, and secrets from the past threaten their friendship until it might be time for them to go their separate ways. Or maybe the planets will finally align, and Michael and Simon will find themselves in the right place at the right time to take the next step.

Available now from your favorite bookstore! eBook | Paperback

When the Planets Align Blog Tour [Complete]

When the Planets Align Blog Tour

Check out all the stops on the When the Planets Align Blog Tour. This is a mix of interviews, original guest posts by yours truly, excerpts, and giveaways. I’ll update this post with links as the posts go live. I hope you’ll drop by a few of the stops on the tour!

Dec 16 Boys In Our Books
Dec 17 It’s About the Book
Dec 18 The Blogger Girls
Dec 19 Romance at Random
Dec 19 Joyfully Jay
Dec 22 The Novel Approach
Dec 23 Diverse Reader
Dec 23 ARe Café
Dec 29 Prism Book Alliance

When the Planets Align is available for pre-order!

When_the_Planets_Align_FINAL_FlatYou can now pre-order your very own copy of When the Planets Align!

From Dreamspinner Press: eBook | Paperback

Or you can add it on Goodreads!

About the Book:

Best friends Michael Reeves and Simon Newell always lived within ten minutes of each other, but somehow they’re never in the same place at the same time.

Brash, outgoing Michael’s unwavering confidence that he and Simon are meant to be carries him through some hard times. When Simon moves to New York, Michael dutifully follows. Quiet, practical Simon loves Michael as a dear friend, but he’s not ready for anything romantic.

Several years and several failed relationships later, Simon realizes he’s been in love with Michael all along. Only now Michael has moved on. Though Simon offers everything Michael’s ever dreamed of, the timing is all wrong. Confusion, betrayal, and secrets from the past threaten their friendship until it might be time for them to go their separate ways. Or maybe the planets will finally align, and Michael and Simon will find themselves in the right place at the right time to take the next step.

Available December 19!

Also, there will be blog touring. More info on that after Thanksgiving!

PlanetsBlogTour

COVER REVEAL: When the Planets Align

I am elated to show you all the shiny new cover for my upcoming contemporary romance novel, When the Planets Align!

When_the_Planets_Align_FINAL_Flat

I know, right? It’s so pretty. That’s some hot Manhattan Bridge action.

What is the book about? Well, just in case the cover isn’t enough to grab your attention, here’s the blurb:

Best friends Michael Reeves and Simon Newell always lived within ten minutes of each other, but somehow they’re never in the same place at the same time.

Brash, outgoing Michael’s unwavering confidence that he and Simon are meant to be carries him through some hard times. When Simon moves to New York, Michael dutifully follows. Quiet, practical Simon loves Michael as a dear friend, but he’s not ready for anything romantic.

Several years and several failed relationships later, Simon realizes he’s been in love with Michael all along. Only now Michael has moved on. Though Simon offers everything Michael’s ever dreamed of, the timing is all wrong. Confusion, betrayal, and secrets from the past threaten their friendship until it might be time for them to go their separate ways. Or maybe the planets will finally align, and Michael and Simon will find themselves in the right place at the right time to take the next step.

It’ll be out in mid-December. I’ll post links when it goes up for pre-order. 😀

When the Planets Align Blog Tour Sign-Up

I’m setting up a blog tour for When the Planets Align, which is out December 19! I’m billing it as kind of a gay When Harry Met Sally… albeit less funny. But two guys who have been friends forever have a romance that spans fourteen years and I’m so elated to have this book go out into the world.

ANYWAY, if you are a blogger interested in participating in the tour, fill out this form:

When the Planets Align: Dirty Tease Excerpt

I’m working on the second round of edits for When the Planets Align—due out in December!—so, hey, want a preview? Sorry that you have to wait 3 months to read this. (Not that sorry. I’m building up anticipation here!) Here’s a tease:

There was a spring in the sofa bed that must have come uncoiled or something, because it stabbed Michael in the back every time he moved. He wondered if perhaps this was his penance for persuading Simon to come home even though Simon hadn’t seemed ready.

Simon had spent most of the afternoon lamenting how much the city had changed, not only in the six years he’d been away, but since they’d been in college. Michael had tried to argue that the changes were for the better; sure, everything was more expensive now, but the city was so much cleaner and safer, and it wasn’t like Simon couldn’t afford to live here with his fancy finance job.

Simon himself had hardly changed at all. His bright blond hair looked a little dustier, maybe, but he was still in good shape, he still had the same perpetually flushed pale skin, he still wore glasses with dark frames. Not that it had even been that long since they’d seen each other, only eight months, maybe, but having Simon back in New York for the long term made it feel like Simon had never left.

Michael reflected, as he squirmed across the mattress to get away from the spring, that a lot had changed since Simon had left. Joan was currently enjoying the quiet, open air of the Catskills with Trevor, for one thing.
And with that thought, Michael was awake and knew he would not be sleeping for the rest of the night.

His stomach churned as he got out of bed and walked into the kitchen, where he poured a glass of water and fished through the cabinets for crackers or some other bland snack food.

What was it that he wanted here? He wanted Simon back. He’d take Simon’s presence in his life again, though he wanted his friendship and craved his love. But there was damage to repair.

Michael had hurt Simon and he knew that, even though he had often pretended he didn’t understand why his taking up with Joan had cut Simon so badly. But Simon and he had been at odds back in those days, and Simon could never understand about Joan. Michael didn’t understand what had happened with Joan either most of the time.

She was one in a million, no doubt about that.

She and Trevor had a nice spread up there in the Catskills, which Michael could say with authority since he’d seen it, both on occasions he’d been invited and ones he hadn’t. The last time he’d said, “I could sue,” without really meaning it, which probably hadn’t been the way to go and had only served to piss Joan off more.

Regrets. Michael had a lot of them.

He couldn’t seem to undo the damage to his relationship with Joan without digging himself in further, but Simon’s presence in his apartment told him maybe he could repair his relationship with Simon, which was what he intended to do. And maybe that wouldn’t solve anything, and maybe it would make them both as miserable as they’d been when Simon moved to Dubai, but Michael wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t give it a shot.
And by “it” he meant the whole thing.

Aren’t you gay?

That was what Simon had said when Michael had come to him with the news that he’d hooked up with Joan, and for whatever reason, those words still rung through Michael’s head. Simon had been stunned. Michael knew that. He knew, also, that Simon probably would not have felt as thrilled about Joan as Michael had felt at the time. He’d hurt Simon deeply. He knew all of that.

So, fine. Michael had been a lousy friend, but all that had been years ago and he’d changed a lot since.

He supposed the problem was proving that.

The bedroom door opened and a tousled Simon emerged. “I thought I heard you get up.”

“Couldn’t sleep,” Michael said.

“Sorry to hear that. I just wanted a glass of water. Do you mind if I…?” He gestured toward the cabinets.

Michael got a glass down and handed it to Simon. “I want you to know, for whatever it’s worth, that things… everything is different now.”

Simon shot him a sidelong glance. “How so?”

“A lot of shit went down while you were gone.”

“I know, but—”

“There’s a lot you don’t know. A lot I didn’t tell you.”

“Like what?”

Michael spared a thought for Trevor and then said, “Like I don’t want to get into it at three o’clock in the morning, but just… I didn’t want you to think that you would be moving back here and putting up with me and my old bullshit. It’s not like it was.”

“All right.”

Michael smirked. “I have all new bullshit now.”

Simon laughed. “Yeah. I’ll bet you do. You still can’t read a clock to save your life, though. It’s actually almost six.”

Michael looked at the microwave clock. “I’ll be damned.”

“Look, I’m sure a lot has changed. I told you when I agreed to stay here that I was willing to see how things played out, didn’t I? I do genuinely value your friendship, regardless of what else happened.”

“Really?”

Simon looked at the floor. “We did love each other once for good reasons.”

“But we don’t anymore?”

Simon looked up and met Michael’s eyes. “Well, first, you couldn’t keep your dick in your pants if someone paid you. I don’t know how I was supposed to react to that. And then there was the problem of us never quite being in the same place at the same time. But, eh, none of it matters now.”

“But it does matter,” Michael said. “All of it matters. You were the most important part of my life once.”

“So what the hell happened?”

What had happened? New York had happened.

“If I had it to do over—”

“Forget it,” said Simon. “I don’t want your apologies. I want to start fresh. All right?”

“Yeah. All right. But you should know—”

“No. Don’t tell me. Keep some secrets for now. We’ll sort all this out later. I’m going to go back to bed.”