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!

upcoming projects

BGW400x200My novella, Save the Date, will be out June 4th. I’m taking the show on the road with a bunch of other authors who have also written gay wedding stories for Loose Id’s “I do… unless I don’t” promotion. So I’ll be posting links to all of those posts starting the week after next.

I’ve updated the Upcoming page with blurbs for what I think are probably the rest of my 2013 books, including my next novel, The Stars that Tremble. I also just signed a contract for a historical baseball story called One Man to Remember that is part of an anthology of baseball stories called Playing Ball that will be out in early fall, hopefully in time for GRL. Here are all the blurbs for the anthology:

One Man to Remember by Kate McMurray
In the summer of 1927, all anyone in New York can talk about is Babe Ruth and the Yankees’ Murderer’s Row, the unstoppable batting lineup that no other team can beat. Skip Littlefield, an infielder for the less flashy New York Giants, is happy to let the Babe take the spotlight, even as he starts hitting as well as Ruth himself. Sports journalist Walter Selby has gained a reputation for being something of a dandy. He’s a force to be reckoned with, too, as one of the most dynamic voices in the daily papers. And now he can’t help but notice the talented first baseman helping the Giants race for the pennant. Then he meets the man and is left breathless—Skip is talented, soft-spoken, and also incredibly handsome. And Walt quickly comes to understand why Skip wants to stay out of the spotlight.

Against the backdrop of the lights of Times Square, the excitement of the era, and some of the most incredible baseball anyone has ever played, Skip starts to fall for Walt. But no one can know. Skip’s only hope is that the more charismatic stars will draw attention away from the quite romance blooming between Skip and Walt, or else Skip’s whole career and everything he loves is at stake.

Wild Pitch by Marguerite Labbe
For as long as Ruben Martell has known him, he’s been in love with his best friend Alan Hartner. They played together, traveled together and publicly dueled on opposite teams. Now years later they’re both retired from the Major Leagues, are running a business together and coaching rival Little League teams. And in all those years, Ruben hasn’t given up hope that Alan might return his feelings one day, but now he’s starting to believe that Alan will never chose to move beyond the memory of his late wife.

Alan quit the game at the height of his career to take care of his sons and the one constant he’s been able to rely on is Ruben. In all that time he has tried to forget about the night everything changed, only being with Ruben on a day-to-day basis is weakening his resolve. They’d stepped over the line before and it had hurt their friendship and left Alan with a guilt he didn’t know how to handle. Alan doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that friendship now even if it mean denying the feelings he’s kept locked away for so long.

One Last Road Trip by Kerry Freeman
After the last game of his major league career, Jake Wilson is hitting the road, and he’s making a few stops along the way. He has an ex-wife with a new life in New Mexico, a son following in his footsteps in Oklahoma, a daughter with an announcement in Tennessee, and the gamble of a lifetime in Georgia. In 2,500 miles, his life will completely change, and he can only hope that his visit to his first love will cause everything to change for the better.

Home Field Advantage by Shae Connor
College student Toby MacMillan, grandson of Atlanta Braves owner Ray MacMillan, works with the team’s locker room crew during the baseball season. It’s there that he meets Caleb Browning, who’s getting his first shot at the big leagues, and Toby, who’s been trying to keep his sexuality under wraps, finds himself smitten. An innocent dinner soon turns into a not-so-innocent night together in Caleb’s bed, but Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst.

Unable to avoid each other because of their jobs, the two men develop a tentative friendship, but it soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head during a game, Toby’s presence at his hospital bedside catches the attention of more than just the medical staff. Their budding romance hits the news, and Toby’s grandfather threatens to cut Toby out of team ownership unless he denies it. Facing a choice between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it, Toby has to decide if he’s ready to make a stand.

five things on friday are fabulous

This week really sped by. It’s already Friday! So, weekly wrap-up!

1. What I’m up to: I’m finishing up a historical baseball story. It’s not officially contracted yet, but here’s the low down: it’s about a dandy sports reporter who is taken with a media-shy rookie player for the NY Giants in 1927 when Babe Ruth and the Yankees are dominating the headlines. (Homosexuality, while not celebrated, was also not condemned in the same way in 1927 that it was after World War II. So my sports reporter is not “out” in the contemporary sense of the word, but everyone kind of knows.) I’m hoping to polish up the ending this weekend.

2. I’m also gearing up to do a little road show for Save the Date, my novella out June 4. It’s part of a Loose Id promotion called “I Do… Unless I Don’t” so I have teamed up with a few of the other authors who wrote gay stories (Dev Bentham, J.A. Rock, Cassandra Gold, and Dominique Frost) for a Big Gay Wedding blog tour. I’ll post dates for that soon, so you can follow along at home.

3. I’m also working on the GayRomLit Writers Workshop now, in hip-deep as it were. We’re in the process of finalizing the schedule, and let me tell you, we have a FANTASTIC lineup of workshops and speakers. So if you were hedging on whether to go, let me tell you: if you are a writer, you should go.

4. Back in New York: I met a friend for dinner in Chelsea last night. We ate at a Thai place and sat next to this very affectionate, handsy gay couple, one of whom didn’t speak English that well, so watching him try to get the waitress to explain what he was eating was kind of adorable. He kept calling the triangular cracker things that came with the tuna tartar “tacos.”

Later, we went down Eighth Avenue to a little bakery for dessert, and while we were chatting over cookies, this big protest march went down the street. They were chanting something like, “These are OUR streets!” One of them ran inside and handed the guy at the counter a flyer. The guy explained that a gay couple had been really brutally beaten after a Knicks game recently. (When I went home and Googled the incident, it turned out that there have actually been THREE really awful gay bashings recently, two near Penn Station and a third in front of a gay bar on Christopher Street. Hence the take-back-the-streets march.) I’m horrified by the gay bashing news; I should probably not be surprised that something like this can happen in New York City, but I am. Silver lining: The tail end of the protest march chanted one of the best slogans I’ve ever heard: “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re fabulous! Don’t fuck with us!” And good on Chelsea residents for showing solidarity that way.

5. I’m allergic to whatever is blooming right now, and my eyes are so watery, I’m worried someone is going to ask what’s wrong, and then I’ll have to come up with some story about how wisteria reminds me of a lost love and I just can’t help but weeping, except actually, there is just not enough Claritin in the world to ease my suffering. Which is a shame, because the weather has been pretty spectacular this week, a welcome respite to the very long winter we had (plus the snow in KC!).

I exaggerate. It’s actually not that bad, save for the low-grade sinus headache I’ve had since Saturday and the fact that the allergy meds are making me kind of groggy, slowing down my writing progress somewhat. Welcome summer, I guess.

five things: RT preview

Weekly wrap-up!

1. RT is next week! I’m excited and also a little nervous and there’s still a lot to do to get ready! If you will also be there, I should be easily locatable if you want to say hi. Here’s where I will be for sure:

• Cinema Craptastique Tuesday night: We’re watching a movie I’ve never seen called The Covenant, which I’m told is pretty worthless except for the abundance of homoeroticism and pretty boys. A bunch of authors will be there tweeting about the movie; even if you are not there, you can follow along with the Twitter hashtag #RTmovieslam.

• I’m doing both signing events:
a. Thursday eBook Expo: I got some little cards made up with a QR code that goes to my author page at All Romance eBooks and I’ll have some paper books for sale as well. Even if you won’t be there, I believe the ARe promotions will be available to everyone, so keep an eye on the site. I will try to remember to Tweet about that.
b. Giant Book Fair: I got a spot at the last minute, so I will try not to get lost among the 400-some other authors. 🙂 I’ll have books for sale.

• I’ll be at the Romance Pride party with bells on.

• I’m doing the FAN-tastic author thingie Saturday. I’m not totally sure what that entails, but there will be prizes and giveaways. I’m in the 7:15 session.

• Confidential to RRW members: we’re meeting Wednesday night and details are on the chapter website.

I also made a list of all the workshops and spotlights and things I want to attend. There’s one on m/m I think on Friday. So I think it will be good.

I’ll try to remember to Tweet my whereabouts, although no promises because I tend to space out about Twitter being a thing at conventions. If you aren’t already following me, my Twitter handle is @katemcmwriter.

2. I am OBSESSING about what to wear. Like, I think for the sake of not carrying seventeen bags to Kansas City, I’m going to have to start narrowing down my costume changes. And shoes, I own so many pairs of shoes. I love excuses to dress up, I’ll be honest. I’m not so much for costumes, so I probably won’t be looking too whacky, but I do love fashion, and, I mean, how many excuses will I have to wear my brand new electric blue Steve Madden pumps?

Who's a pretty, pretty princess?

Who’s a pretty, pretty princess?

3. What else is going on? Well, I bought a new sofa on Sunday, which is probably only significant to me, but it was a Big Deal because I finally got to replace this old, ugly, hand-me-down futon in my living room. I splurged on some new throw pillows, too, which the cat immediately took advantage of. I call this her pretty princess pillow.

4. I’ve been working all week on a historical baseball story that will hopefully see the light of day this fall. If all goes to plan, I will finish the first draft of that this weekend.

5. I’m reading an Amish romance for my romance book club, which could be an interesting experience, although I may have to find the dirtiest, raunchiest book I can to counterbalance all this sweetness. I’ve never read an Amish romance before, so I’m looking forward to the book club discussion. I feel like it’s part of my romance education.

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: moving right along

Another week over. Why are you speeding by so fast, 2013? Slow down!

Kate at LSFW1. I had a great time at the Liberty States Fiction Writers convention last weekend. (There’s a photo of me at the book fair.) The convention was fun and very well-organized, definitely worth the trip to New Jersey. Plus I got to hang out with some fabulous authors. (Because of the alphabet, I shared a little m/m corner of the book fair with Tere Michaels and K.A. Mitchell, who are both wonderful. And I’m definitely not just saying that!) I got to see and talk to and hang out with some old friends and I met some new people, and I’d list everyone but I’d probably space and forget someone, so suffice it to say it was good.

2. I attended a few really great workshops at LSFW. My favorite was one K.A. Mitchell did on writing characters that connect with your readers. This is something I already knew she did well, which is always a good thing in a workshop. She talked a lot about personality types and Enneagrams, which I didn’t have much familiarity with. (I bought a book on Enneagrams earlier this week to help me develop the characters in my current WIP, although it’s hard not to diagnose my friends. I’ve been following people around and being all like, “Well, clearly you’re an eight.” Um, sorry, friends.)

It’s inspiring to look at something in a different way. That’s an important takeaway from talking with other writers. A lot of people I’ve met in my travels have varied techniques for developing character, plot, and setting, and even though I don’t think all of them will work for me, I appreciate learning new ideas and techniques. The thing with writing, for me anyway, is that there’s always something new I can learn. Let’s hope I can apply some of this to the WIP.

3. So next up is RT. I’m pulling together everything for that now, including last-minute book and swag ordering. I’m a little intimidated by the size of this convention, but I’m excited, too. Although, actually, the Rainbow Book Fair in New York is the next thing on my public-appearance agenda, but that’s one day and doesn’t involve travel so it feels a little less overwhelming, I guess. That’s on April 13th.

4. In non-convention news, I’ve been busy with my day job and revising The Stars that Tremble. Both things are going well, but I’m having one of those weeks that has been so intense and busy that I am quite looking forward to being able to sleep in Saturday.

5. And it’s still winter. Boo. There were snow flurries in New Jersey on Saturday. It snowed here in Brooklyn earlier this week. There were snow flurries today. Um, hullo, universe? It’s spring now. Catch up.

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.

creativity vs. commerce

I don’t tend to write a lot about craft because I’m fully aware that what works for me as a writer probably won’t work for you. (It very likely won’t, actually; my process is a little weird.) But in an effort to update the blog more than once a week, I wanted to share this revelation I had over the weekend.

I’ve been feeling a little stymied creatively lately. Several things keep happening. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to just get another book done already. (Now that I think about it, the last novel I finished a first draft of was Out in the Field, which was completed about a year ago. I actually wrote the first drafts of Four Corners and Show and Tell in 2011.) Anyway, I’ve been really struggling with where I should focus my energies, and that has resulted in a somewhat crippling lack of focus; I keep starting new projects without finishing them.

(Novel-length projects, I should clarify. I’ve written a handful of shorts and a novella in the last eight months.)

And then I hated everything I wrote for a while. My writing had lost some of its charm. I wrote a story last September that I liked for its plot, setting, and characters, but I thought the prose was too spare and the sentence structure too choppy. I even had one beta say of something I wrote that it didn’t sound like my voice.

What is happening?

I think a lot of it was the pressure I was putting on myself and the panic of seeing 2013 laid out before me with a whole lot of nothing on the pub schedule, and then I think the writing process became more about Getting It Done than anything else, which kind of took away my enjoyment, which in turn made the writing not so great, and so on.

I had a self-imposed deadline of mid-March, but last week, I made the decision to let that go. Getting It Done was much less important than Writing a Good Novel. So, if it takes me the next six months to finish a book and make it good, so be it. It seems arbitrary, but that decision was freeing in a lot of ways.

Look, I’m all for setting goals. Goals are good. Goals keep us on track, goals help us plan ahead. But I think the lesson here is that churning out a book just for the sake of churning it out is not a good strategy for me. I have to feel passionate about a project in order to write it well, and if I’m more preoccupied with the deadline than the story, well, you can guess how that goes. (And as someone who periodically suffers from pretty intense anxiety, I am always going to be preoccupied with deadlines if they exist. It’s why I don’t think I will be selling stories on spec much anymore.)

Which brings me to my current project. I’m getting back to basics and writing a m/m contemporary set in New York. (I just got tagged to do another Next Best Thing post, so I’ll talk about the story more next week, but the gist is that it’s an opposites-attract romance.) I wrote the first 30,000 words in late December/early January and then promptly got stuck. The key issue was that there just wasn’t enough conflict. The characters met, they had some romance and hot sex, and then any impediment I threw at them seemed stupid and easily resolved. So, I got my writers group involved and handed them the first four chapters. They had a number of really good suggestions, particularly for how to introduce more conflict.

I spent a good chunk of this past holiday weekend working on the story. And, honestly, for the first time in a while, working on it felt more like crafting a story and less like churning out words. One of the characters is an opera singer, so I made a playlist of my favorite arias. (Listening to a lot of opera will make everything seem more dramatic.) I introduced a new character and moved some scenes around. I did some research. I wrote about 6,000 new words. I am so in the heads of these characters that I know them well now. And it all felt really good in the way writing hasn’t in a while.

So here’s hoping I don’t get in my own way again.

I think it’s one of the problems of being a working writer. What we’re told—and what I’ve seen in my own royalty statements—is that putting out books at regular intervals keeps readers interested. But how quickly will my readers drop off if I start putting out crappy books?

Like, the other night, I was having a conversation with someone in which the question was posed: What if you had written 50 Shades? I joked that I could retire. But my friend pointed out that I wouldn’t be okay with having written a book that was so critically reviled (I’d never forgive myself for putting out a book I knew was sub-par) and, more to the point, if I made all that money, I could stop writing, but would I want to? No, absolutely not. Writing is super important to me, it’s how I stay sane sometimes, it’s a creative outlet, it’s the thing I’d like to be doing most days. I wake up thinking about my stories and go to bed thinking about them. I would be incomplete if I gave it up.

But then commerce gets involved. Writing is a creative outlet but it’s also a business. I want to write full time, and therefore I need to sell enough books to sustain that. Then again, I think there’s something to be said for making your next book as spectacular as it can be, and I certainly aim for that whenever I’m working on a new project. Out in the Field did pretty well, I think in large part because of word-of-mouth more than anything I did beyond writing the best book I could.

So it’s a fine line. But for the sake of this project, I’m going to concentrate on writing a good story for a while. I’ll worry about the rest later.

five things! red carpets, knitting, cat photos!

Hey, it’s Friday! That means it’s time for a weekly wrap-up…

(Given how giddy I feel, I think I can contribute the trouble I’ve been having sleeping all week to caffeine over-consumption. So! Apologies if this post is a little manic!)

1. Show and Tell red carpet events this week:

[I spent more time than I should have this week looking at fancy dresses from the Golden Globes. My new life goal is to at some point in my life be invited to an event that is not a wedding where I have to wear a ballgown made by a high-end designer.]

I did an interview with fellow Loose Id author Kay Berrisford, where we talked about the book. There’s a bonus photo of my cat. You can leave a comment there to win a copy of the book; the contest is open until the 22nd.

I’m at Chicks and Dicks today on the theme of new beginnings—I talked about being inspired to try new things outside of my comfort zone and how rewarding that is. There is also another bonus photo of my cat.

2. Kate’s Kraft Corner Remember the scarf I started here? I finished it! Photographic evidence ahoy:

Here is the finished scarf blocking in my living room floor.

Here is the finished scarf blocking in my living room floor.

The scarf is 8-ish inches wide and about 5.5 feet tall. (I used the highly scientific method of going, “Well, I’m 5’7″ and the scarf is not quite as tall as I am, so…”) I also made these cute fingerless mitts to go with it:

Look! Mitts! Ignore how messy my apartment is in the background.

Look! Mitts! Ignore how messy my apartment is in the background.

I still have 300 yards of this yarn left and no earthly idea what to do with it. (For perspective, the scarf and the mitts combined used a little less than 500 yards.) It’s a wool-nylon blend (Knit Picks Chroma, for anyone playing at home). A hat, maybe? Would the scarf-mitt-hat combo be too matchy-matchy? Suggestions welcome.

3. Speaking of knitting, an avid-knitter friend of mine talked me into going to Vogue Knitting Live this weekend. I have two sweater patterns picked out so that I might capitalize on this new-found desire to actually knit after not knitting for a while. Maybe that’s my new year’s resolution this year. Knit a little every day. I think it’s good for the soul.

4. I’m currently reading Heads in Beds, a memoir of working in the hotel industry. It’s funny and fascinating but maybe not the best thing to read as I’m booking a bunch of travel for the year.

I decided that I’m definitely going to the RWA national convention this year, so that’s TWO trips to Atlanta, since that will also be the location of GayRomLit. Add RT in Kansas City (already booked) and that’s a lot of travel to cities I’ve never spent time in before. That is perhaps one perk of conventions, although you end up spending all your time at the convention and not seeing the city. (In retrospect, I’m pretty grateful that the GRL organizers set up that excursion to Old Town Albuquerque last year, because I probably wouldn’t have seen anything outside the hotel otherwise.)

The other stuff I’m doing this year is all local, thankfully. Might be time to set up some frequent flyer accounts, though, if this trend keeps up.

5. My writing goal for the month is all skewed. I was trying to finish my WIP about the opera singer and the construction worker but then decided to write a baseball short instead! Ha! It’s only the middle of the month, so I think I can finish the baseball short and also make some headway on the opera WIP, but I may miss my self-imposed deadline of having a finished first draft of the latter by the end of the month. I’m kind of blocked with that story, but I think I just need to figure out how the various conflicts get resolved. I need a good Shower Epiphany; I have all my best ideas in the shower.

Valentine’s Day with Harry and Noah

As a romance writer, I can’t say I have a problem with the general sentiment behind Valentine’s Day, even if I’d rather skip the hearts and flowers personally. Or if I’d rather avoid what I saw tonight: I decided that I’d buy myself a Valentine’s Day cupcake, so I stopped at a little bakery on the way home from work. While I was paying, this guy came running in frantically, all, “I need two cupcakes, and I need them to be sort of festive and Valentine-y! Stat!”

Anyway, in honor of the holiday, I thought I’d give you guys a terribly romantic scene from my WIP sequel to In Hot Pursuit. This scene might get cut, actually, depending on how I go with the revision, but here’s a little taste of what happens to Harry and Noah a couple of years after the end of their novel.

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