See the Light: The Playlist

It’s likely not a secret that I like a show tune. And, since See the Light is basically 10% musical theater references, I thought it would be fun to make a playlist that includes all the songs referenced in the book. And then, because I can’t help myself, I added a bunch of other songs I like, too. Also, like, half of Hamilton, because I finally saw it a week before I finished the book. The songs are in no particular order except my whims, so I recommend listening to it on shuffle.

(Also, there are a few references to the 1980s cinematic classic St. Elmo’s Fire, so that’s the song that kicks it off.)

You can listen to the whole 4.5 hour production on Spotify:

Olympics romance coming your way in time for the 2020 Olympics!

I made this announcement on social media yesterday, but here it is again:

I have a 3-book series about elite athletes at the Olympics, which will be out around the 2020 Summer Olympics. Here’s the official announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace:

The first book will be available digitally and in mass market paperback. I am SO STOKED for you to read this series.

Baseball romance in time for the World Series!

You may know that I am a huge baseball fan. Game 1 of the World Series is tonight, which is very exciting! And you may have wandered over to this website thinking, “I heard Kate wrote that baseball romance, what was it called again?”

So, SURE, this is a promo post with an obvious tie-in to a current event, but this is also my website, so here you go. Here’s a primer on my baseball books if you want some baseball romance reading!

Out in the Field
Matt Blanco is at the twilight of his career and Iggy Rodrigquez is at the beginning of his on the World Champion Brooklyn Eagles. It’s romance, it’s Major League Baseball, and everyone gets a happy ending!

“One Man to Remember” in Playing Ball
Baseball in the Jazz Age! A Major League player in the Babe Ruth era falls for a flamboyant sportscaster.

Four Corners
This novel is not about baseball per se, but it is about four guys who played baseball as kids (they were the four corners of the baseball diamond) and the romance between Jake (the one who stayed) and Adam (the one who left). There’s a lot of baseball talk, though, and a tension-filled scene at the batting cages!

“What There Is”
This little novella is about a retired professional baseball player who needs a place to stay, and ends up finding love with his geeky roommate.

Thrown a CurveAnd finally, the Rainbow League series, which is about an LGBT amateur baseball league in NYC.
The Windup
Anxious Ian is back in NYC after fleeing a traumatic childhood and intends to leave just as soon as he makes sure his ailing mother is ok, but then he joins the Rainbow League and meets Ty, who may just persuade him to stay.

Thrown a Curve
Retired Yankee Mason came out in a very public way and still struggles to find acceptance in his own family. Meeting flashy hairdresser Patrick doesn’t make that much easier. And yet…

The Long Slide Home
Childhood friends Nate and Carlos save each other from some difficult times and become more than friends along the way. This one’s a bit of a slow burn, but it wraps up a series-long arc, so I recommend reading all 3 books in order.

COVER REVEAL: See the Light, available January 2019

My next book, about Broadway theater and two friends falling in love, will be out January 28, 2019! Here’s the blurb:

Kate McMurray brings friends-to-lovers to the Great White Way!
Up-and-coming Broadway actor Jeremy was given two days to get up and get out. Dumped by his long-term boyfriend and suddenly homeless, he needs a sofa and a sympathetic ear, stat.

Enter Max, aspiring makeup artist and Jeremy’s BFF and former roommate.

Max has been in love with his best friend forever. Now that Jeremy is back in his home, his old feelings are back, too. He’s happy to help his friend, but this time…it’s complicated.

When Jeremy gets his big break in a new show, the message of the play hits home. “Live life to the fullest” means recognizing how he really feels about Max, and that’s not complicated at all. Jeremy’s in love, and wants to move full steam ahead.

But Max has waited too long for Jeremy to look at him this way, and he doesn’t want to risk his heart. If this is just a rebound fling, or if Jeremy is only interested in Max because he’s convenient, it will not only shatter him—it will ruin the best friendship he’s ever known.

And the cover:

Pre-order here! (I set up a universal link so you can get to the bookstore of your choice.)

Where to Find Me at #RWA18

I arrive in Denver on Tuesday for the annual Romance Writers of America national conference. If you’ll be there, too, here’s where I will definitely be:

Thursday, 10am–11:30am: Carina Press Open House! Come learn more about Carina! I’ll be signing paperbacks of Damage Control! (In the Terrace Room.)

Thursday, 3pm–4pm: Kensington Signing! I’ll be signing paperbacks of Such a Dance.

Saturday, 3pm–5pm: Readers for Life Literacy Signing! This is the big signing. I *think* there will be copies of Out in the Field, Ten Days in August, and The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom, but I honestly don’t remember what I ordered, so it’ll be a roll of the dice.

I have a handful of meetings and publisher parties on my schedule, and I hope to squeeze in seeing a few workshops. I’ll otherwise probably be in the bar, LOL. Hope to see you there!

EXCERPT: Damage Control

Here’s a little taste of Damage Control my new romantic suspense, second chance romance novel.

“Leaving you was the hardest thing I ever did. I did it for what were probably selfish reasons. It wasn’t anything you did and it wasn’t that I stopped loving you. I think a part of me probably always will.” Somewhat alarmed that he’d confessed that much, Park stared at the floor. When he looked up again, Jackson stared at him as if he’d grown an arm out of his head.

“You still left,” Jackson said softly.

“I made the right choice for my career. I have no doubt about that. But I don’t know that I made the right choice for my heart. Because you, at least, could find love again, but I probably won’t.”

Jackson took a step closer. “Because you only fuck men who also won’t tell. That’s a lonely way to live.” His tone was sad, like he pitied Park.

“Because I have spent the last five years comparing every man I sleep with to you. And none of them will ever measure up.” Park met Jackson’s gaze. His memories of life with Jackson had been plaguing him for months, since the Senate campaign began in earnest really, and were probably the very thing that had driven him to Jackson’s office to begin with. Being with Jackson was something he had no right to hope for. But he added, “How’s that for honesty?”

Jackson shook his head. “No. No, you don’t get to say shit like that.” He turned away and looked at the wall. “You walked out on our life together of your own volition. I loved you more than I’ll probably love anyone, and you destroyed that by leaving. And for what? So you can live like a monk while running for an election you’ll probably lose, all because you had some principle or moral that being gay conflicted with? You made a choice, you destroyed both of us in the process, and you have to live with that choice.”

Park understood Jackson’s anger. He felt some of it himself. “I did make a choice, and I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering if it was the right one, but it doesn’t matter now because it’s in the past. We have to worry about what’s next. So what I’m telling you is that I’ll be honest with you and you can trust me, but I understand that I have to earn your trust.”

Jackson remained quiet for a long time. Mostly he stared at Park. The only sound in the room was the rise and fall of their breathing and the cycling on and off of the air conditioner unit by the window. It was a cruel reminder that Park was not home and that these circumstances were so far out of the ordinary, he didn’t know how he’d find his way back.

When Jackson spoke again, his voice cracked, “This is so hard. Seeing you again, trying to keep professional distance, it is so fucking hard. When I look at you, I don’t just see a client. I see a million memories, and I see what I thought our future would be, and then I see you walking out the door, again and again, and it wrecks me all over again. It’s all stuck on some terrible repeat loop.”

Had Park really thought he could stroll into Jackson’s office and hire him and everything would be fine? Had he really thought that, even though they’d never be lovers again, he and Jackson could have some kind of professional rapport? It all seemed like such a foolish line of thinking in retrospect. There was still so much between them. “I’ll never be able to apologize enough for hurting you,” Park said, but even that felt inadequate.

“I’ll probably never really understand why you did.”

“It’s hard to remember why when I’m standing this close to you.”

Jackson looked down, probably examining how the tips of their shoes were only about a foot apart. When he looked up again, his expression was tired, resigned. “There’s a part of me that wants to hate you.”

Park could hear the “but” in Jackson’s tone, and it was like a sliver of sunlight along a dark curtain. “But you don’t.”

“I don’t want to trust you, either.”

“But you do.”

Jackson nodded. “I don’t want to be attracted to you anymore, either, but you’re still the goddamn hottest man on the planet to me. I hate that.”

“I know.”

And then they were kissing.

Now available:
Carina Press
Barnes & Noble

DAMAGE CONTROL is out now!

My m/m romantic suspense novel Damage Control is out today!

Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or his bed. And when a strange woman is found murdered in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.

Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.

Forced back together, searching for answers, their attraction returns with a vengeance. Any distraction—personal or professional—could be deadly. The murderer is still at large, and he’s made it clear one of them is his next victim.

Get your hands on a copy:
Carina Press
Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY: Win a copy of Damage Control + Other Cool Stuff

Damage Control is out a week from today! So, hey, how about a giveaway!

Want a signed print copy of the book? And also one of these gorgeous Dreamspinner Press autograph books from this year’s RT, signed by most of the authors who were there? I’ve also got a bunch of paperbacks I’ve brought home from various conferences I’ve been to this year, including books by Cathy Maxwell, Beverly Jenkins, Lauren Blakely, and HelenKay Dimon, among others. Winner gets to choose however many books they want from my conference haul.

U.S. readers only. You have until next Tuesday to do the thing and enter the contest. I’ll do what I can to mail books to you in a timely manner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where to Find Me at #RT18

I fly to Reno Monday night May 14th for the RT Booklovers Convention. If you’ll also be there, here’s where I’ll be:

I’ll be kicking around all day Tuesday and I’m putting together a prize or two for Cinema Craptastique Tuesday evening at 7pm.

12:15pm: Panic Free Pitching. This is a writer workshop on mastering pitching and querying.
2:45pm: Romance Bar Trivia. Join me, LaQuette, Rayna Vause, Amy Lane, Elle Brownlee, and Shae Connor for a most excellent trivia game. We’ll have wine and prizes! And wine! And prizes! It should be a blast.

8:45am: Make a Date with Harlequin: I’ll be signing paperbacks of Damage Control a full month before you can get it anywhere else! You don’t want to miss it.
10:00am: Dreamspinner Autograph Scavenger Hunt: The first 100 attendees get a neat commemorative booklet. Get signatures from all the authors for special prizes at Saturday’s FAN-tastic Day party.
5:15pm: Kensington’s Sparkling Stars of Romance: I’ll be signing paperback copies of Such a Dance!

I’ll be somewhere!

10:30am: Giant Book Fair. I’ll have copies of Out in the Field, There Has to Be a Reason, and Ten Days in August for sale!
6:00pm: FAN-tastic Day Party. I’ll be floating around and should have some books to give away, so come find me.

Full schedules for RT are online:
Agenda Booklet
FAN-tastic Day Booklet
Book Fair Author Seating Booklet

Celebrate #RoyallyYours With a Brief History of the British Monarchy!

This article was previously published in the RWANYC Keynotes newsletter. Episodes 3 and 4 of the royal wedding serial Royally Yours, to which I contributed, are out this week! To get your hands on it, go here.

I had never considered myself an Anglophile or even knew that much about England until about eight years ago when I decided I should read Game of Thrones. The show had just premiered and I was into it, but I wasn’t sure I could make it through all those 1,000-page books. Then I read an article saying George R. R. Martin based a lot of the series on the Wars of the Roses, and since I’m a history nerd, I thought, “I’ll read a book about the Wars of the Roses instead of Game of Thrones!”

I ended up reading both, and the nonfiction book made me realized that I basically knew jack about British history. Which is sort of sad. I recently had my DNA tested, and it turns out basically all of my ancestors came from the UK, so I really should know something about where they came from. So after I read all about the Wars of the Roses, I picked up a general book about the history of England… and a book about the history of London… then I bought a 12-hour documentary on DVD… and you kind of see where this is going.

Prince William and Kate Middleton got married around this same time, so it was kind of fun to compare all ceremony and circumstance to the history. For nearly two-thousand years, royal weddings were mostly political affairs. The king needed an alliance with another country? He married one of his sons off to a princess from that country. The bride and groom didn’t even need to be in the same place; they could be married by proxy. So wasn’t it charming that Wills and Kate seemed to be a love match? And isn’t it even more charming that Harry is basically throwing generations of tradition out the window to marry an American?

Although it’s not like the prior two millennia years of British history were calm and dull. If I’ve gleaned nothing else from my weird, intense study of British history in the last few years, it’s that the whole line of monarchs—it’s nuts. It’s two thousand years of drama.

Let me drop a little history on you all.

Empress Matilda

William the Conqueror’s grandson, also named William, attended a party aboard a boat called the White Ship that was so hard core, the boat sank, killing all but two of its passengers. His death caused a civil war: the only remaining direct heir was William’s sister Matilda, and English nobility wasn’t really down with having a woman sit on the throne, so Matilda’s cousin Stephen showed up to challenge her. They traded the throne back and forth for a bit.

If you’ve ever seen a Robin Hood movie, you know about Matilda’s grandsons Richard the Lionheart and Prince John. Although John is not considered a great king, he did sign the Magna Carta. John’s grandson was Edward I, known as Longshanks, who you know if you’ve seen Braveheart. (Edward was… not a great guy.) Some historians think his son Edward II was gay; he favored a fellow named Piers Gaveston who exerted so much influence over him that the ruling barons of the day had him executed. This did not exactly endear Edward II to the barons, and a prolonged conflict ensued that eventually led to Edward being deposed in favor of his 14-year-old son.

Richard III

If you’ve read the Shakespeare history plays, you know about the next couple of centuries. Edward II’s grandson Richard II married Anne of Bohemia, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, and the union was entirely diplomatic—Richard aimed to shore up England’s defense against France. After Anne died of the plague, Richard had an affair with Robert de Vere (and made him Duke of Ireland) and then the war with France got worse and Henry Bolingbroke—later Henry IV—decided he had a better claim to the throne than Richard, and that effectively kicked off the Wars of the Roses. (If you can get your hands on The Hollow Crown, the BBC’s production of 7 of Shakespeare’s history plays, I highly recommend it. Especially if you’ve got a thing for thin, pasty British actors; Ben Wishaw, Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch all have major roles.)

Henry VIII (I am, I am)

Before being buried in a car park, Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor at Bosworth, ending the Wars of the Roses and beginning the Tudor dynasty. (Fun trivia: The Tudors were Welsh. Succession gets tricky here; Owen Tudor, a Welsh nobleman, married Henry V’s wife, Catherine of Valois (mother of Henry VI), and had a son named Edmund, who married Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III. That’s the crazy thing about the Wars of the Roses; the Lancasters and Yorks were all related. Everyone who claimed the throne was a descendent of Edward III. Really.) Henry’s son Henry VIII was, of course, famous for divorcing and/or beheading his wives; perhaps not romantic as such. His daughter Elizabeth never married.

George III (“I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love! Ba da da da da…”)

There may have been some love matches in the royal family tree. The Hanover dynasty kicked off with George I, the great-grandson of Elizabeth’s successor James. George’s grandson, George III, was thought to love his wife Charlotte; they had fifteen children. You know George III from such projects as the American Revolution and then his subsequent madness, for which his son, George IV was appointed to rule as Prince Regent in his stead (hence the Regency Period). George IV spent money the monarchy didn’t have on interior decorating, faux military uniforms, and mistresses, though he did have a legitimate daughter… who died in childbirth, leaving the crown without an heir. A scramble ensued to marry off four of George III’s sons, and Prince Edward “won”; his marriage to a German princess resulted in a daughter named Alexandrina Victoria. Romantic, huh?

George IV (Prinny)

Incidentally, George III instituted the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which stated that no heir to the throne can be considered to have a valid marriage without the consent of the monarch. This meant the offender did not lose his or her place in the line of succession, but because the marriage was invalid, any children were considered illegitimate. The act was only repealed in 2015, although the first six people in the line of succession must still get the consent of the monarch to marry; without consent, the marriage is still valid, but the couple and their offspring are disqualified from the line of succession. (The Queen gave Harry and Meghan consent to marry under the newer Succession to the Crown Act of 2013. This act also makes gender irrelevant for primogeniture, so a female firstborn could inherit the throne without controversy. Previous female monarchs only ascended to the throne if no dudes were available.)

Victoria & Albert

By all accounts, Victoria and Albert were a love match, despite being first cousins—PBS’s Victoria is really great, for more on that—and royal weddings in the twentieth century were less political. Though not without scandal; Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, after all. The royal family did not approve of the marriage, which would have made it invalid under the existing law. Considering the main objection was that Ms. Simpson was American and, worse, divorced—two things also true of Meghan Markle—perhaps the monarchy has stepped into the twenty-first century.

This cheap tour through British history is mainly to support the point that the British monarchy is interesting and weird, and Prince Harry choosing to marry a biracial American divorcée seems almost mundane by comparison. But I still like the romance of it. Also the fashion; I can’t wait to see what the various European royals wear on their heads!

Some suggestions for further reading!
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones
Foundation by Peter Ackroyd
The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir