Where to find me at #RT16

las-vegas-signThe RT Booklovers Convention is next week! I’ll be there with bells on. (Or sequins. I figured if I was going to be in Vegas, I should bling up my wardrobe.) If you’ll be there, too, I’d love it if you found me and said hi. Here’s where I’ll be:

Tuesday, 8pm: Cinema Craptastique! Wherein we watch a bad movie, mock it, and also hand out prizes. I’m cohosting alongside Damon Suede, Tere Michaels, Amy Lane, Cherry Adair, and Laura Kaye. It’ll be spectacular. (To play at home, rent Abduction with Taylor Lautner and follow the hashtag #RTCC on Twitter. I hear what you’re saying, but this is a bad movie with an Oscar-caliber cast and a climax at a baseball game. Everyone there will be tweeting snark, so it’ll be 100% worth it.)

Thursday, 10am: Dreamspinner Reader Party: Join a bunch of Dreamspinner authors for a rousing game of Apples to Apples for fun and prizes!

Thursday: 2:45pm: Love on the Field: I’m talking sports romance with genre heavyweights Jaci Burton, Tracy Solheim, and Kristen Callihan. Our main topic of conversation will be how to research and write sports romances, but come with questions and we’ll answer them!

Thursday: 5:15pm: Kensington’s Chapel of Love: Kensington’s reader party will have snacks and free books! I’ll be there signing copies of Such a Dance.

Saturday, 10:30am: Giant Book Fair: I’ll be signing at the Giant Book Fair. I’ll have copies of The Silence of the Stars, When the Planets Align, and The Windup.

Saturday, 6pm: FAN-tastic Day Party: Dreamspinner is hosting again, so I’ll be floating around the party, I’m sure, but also featured in the second half of the party.

I’m also putting a prize basket together for Wheel of Romance at 10am Friday. This is a great way to parlay the swag you collect at the convention into prizes. And I’ll be sure to put in an appearance at all the parties.

So that’s where I’ll be! I think it’ll be a great convention, and I’m super excited for it.

Ten Days in August blog tour!

Ten Days In AugustHere is a complete list of stops on the blog tour, which includes posts with background information, history, excerpts, and more!

Joyfully Jay (post: drag queens in history)
Romantic Reads and Such (post: why I like the Gilded Age as a setting)
Fresh Fiction (post: real historical figures in romance novels
Mary Gramlich (post: on the summer of 1896 as a setting/historical background)
HEA USA Today (interview)
Ever After Romance (post: what it was like to be gay in the 1890s)
Novels Alive (post: American-set historical romance)
Karen’s Killer Book Bench (excerpt)
Manic Readers (post: brief historical info about the Bowery)
Shelley K. Wall (post: New York’s changing geography)
Romance Divas (post: what inspired me about the Gilded Age setting)
Readers Entertainment (excerpt)
Cynthia Woolf (interview)
RomCon (excerpt)

Also, in case you missed it, here are my blog posts on the book: Ten Days in August and real history and Photos of New York in the 1890s. I’ve also got a Gilded Age Pinterest board with lots more photos (mostly of New York and also fashion).

Get the book in any of these places:
Kensington
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
All Romance
Google
Kobo
Apple iBooks

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.

Ten Days in August is now available!

Ten Days In AugustNeed a little heat in your historical romance? Join Hank and Nicky as they solve a murder during a heat wave in New York in 1896! Ten Days in August is out today everywhere!

From the Lower East Side to uptown Manhattan, a curious detective searches for clues on the sidewalks of New York—and finds a secret world of forbidden love that’s too hot to handle…

New York City, 1896. As the temperatures rise, so does the crime rate. At the peak of this sizzling heat wave, police inspector Hank Brandt is called to investigate the scandalous murder of a male prostitute. His colleagues think he should drop the case, but Hank’s interest is piqued, especially when he meets the intriguing key witness: a beautiful female impersonator named Nicholas Sharp.

As a nightclub performer living on the fringes of society, Nicky is reluctant to place his trust in a cop—even one as handsome as Hank. With Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt cracking down on vice in the city, Nicky’s afraid that getting involved could end his career. But when he realizes his life is in danger—and Hank is his strongest ally—the two men hit the streets together to solve the crime. From the tawdry tenements of the Lower East Side to the moneyed mansions of Fifth Avenue, Nicky and Hank are determined to uncover the truth. But when things start heating up between them, it’s not just their lives on the line. It’s their love…

Get it here:
Kensington
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
All Romance
Google
Kobo
Apple iBooks

Ten Days in August: NY in 1896

The Library of Congress website has a bonanza of images from the 1890s, which gives an interesting impression of how different New York City is now, 120 years later. Remember, New York in 1896 had no Empire State Building, no Times Square, no Rockefeller Center. Here are some of the photos I found (clicking on them will enlarge some of them):

Lower Broadway, 1892

Lower Broadway, 1892

Lower Broadway ca 1897

Lower Broadway, 1897

Broadway 1897

Broadway, 1897

Broadway runs adjacent to some of the neighborhoods that, in 1896, were full of immigrants packed into tenements. Some of these bustling photos are close to what that must have looked like. Only the real situation was worse. I bought an illustrated copy of How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis while I was researching this book, and some of the photos are brutal. For more see some of Riis’s photos here.

Cart on the street, 1896

Cart on the street, 1896

1890

1890

This photo was just labeled “New York City 1890,” but I think it might be taken from Union Square? (Feel free to correct me.)

Elevated train at 110th St, 1896

Elevated train at 110th St, 1896

Chatham Square Elevated Train Station 1880

Chatham Square Elevated Train Station 1880

In the late 19th century, before the subway (opened in 1904), New Yorkers got around by horse-drawn street cars and hansom cabs and the elevated trains. There are still elevated trains in the outer boroughs, but not so much in Manhattan. I imagine them as kind of a blight; the tracks must have blocked out the sun on some of the streets they ran over.

Newspaper Row, 1890

Newspaper Row, 1890

In the 1890s, most of the city’s major newspapers had offices in these tall buildings on Park Row, along City Hall Park.

Tammany Hall, 1896

Tammany Hall, 1896

Politics in the late 19th century was dominated by Tammany Hall. By 1896, Tammany’s notorious Boss Tweed had been dead for nearly twenty years, but Tammany played a role in New York politics well into the 20th century.

The Tombs, 1890s

The Tombs, 1890s

There have been a series of prisons in lower Manhattan called the Tombs, which doesn’t really speak well to the conditions at any of them. This ominous building was what the prison looked like at the time of the novel.

Newsboy, 1896

Newsboy, 1896

Hansom Cab and Driver, 1896

Hansom Cab and Driver, 1896

Police Officer, 1896

Police Officer, 1896

The LOC website has a series of photos of people on the streets. I liked these particular examples. I can only imagine wearing that police uniform during a heat wave; my detective, Hank Brandt, basically refuses.

So there’s a little glimpse into the New York City of Ten Days in August.

Ten Days in August and Real History

First, a programming note of sorts: so far in March, my mother came for a long stay, I started a new job, and I sprained my ankle, all of which threw a wrench in my blogging plans for the lead-in to the Ten Days in August release. Or any blogging, really, as you may have noticed. I also spent this past weekend at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Create Something Magical Conference (say that three times fast!) which was fabulous, but again, didn’t leave me much time for blogging.

But I did want to provide some background information. I’m doing a blog tour for this book, too, and I’ll be sure to link to those posts, because I’ve written quite a bit already about how this story came to be. But here are a few factoids that haven’t made it into my blog-post-a-rama yet.

In New York in the 1890s, the modern NYPD was not yet a thing. Instead, the police department was run by a 4-man board. Police headquarters were on Mulberry Street, in a building that no longer exists. In 1896, Teddy Roosevelt presided over the Board, which was constantly deadlocked for petty political reasons, which stymied a lot of the reform Roosevelt wanted to implement. He was on a mission to eliminate corruption, to promote the best men, and to actually enforce the laws on the books. New York was, however, a city of vice, particularly drinking and prostitution.

I read Caleb Carr’s novel The Alienist maybe a decade ago, and one of the things that hooked me about that book was the opening, in which a dead male prostitute is discovered on the Manhattan Bridge. Male prostitutes were often young and referred to as working boys. The one in The Alienist worked in a notorious club called Paresis Hall, a place men went to pick up working boys.

Paresis Hall was a real place. So was the Slide, considered by many to be the worst dive in the city. The club in Ten Days is called Club Bulgaria, and it is entirely fictional, but I intended it to be roughly between these two in terms of relative shadiness. Club Bulgaria features a shabby ballroom where men go to dance and meet each other, where performers sing or dance, and where men can retreat to the backroom for sex, roughly the model of similar clubs of the era. (And now, really.)

The thing with this era in New York history is that it was a period of both tremendous wealth and tremendous poverty. Robber barons ruled the city; old money families and captains of industry displayed their wealth conspicuously. Immigrants, meanwhile, were crowded into tenements without proper ventilation or running water. As a student of history, I find this juxtaposition really vital to understanding the era. So I wanted to explore both aspects of the city: Hank’s friend Amelia represents high society, and Nicky’s Irish immigrant family represents the other half. Nicky and Hank exist in a sort of limbo. Hank mostly aspires to live comfortably, and he’s essentially middle class, while Nicky has been clawing his way out of poverty and makes enough to afford his own apartment (and the gorgeous gowns he loves to wear).

The New York of this era is different from now in a lot of ways, some of which are detailed in this map. (A lot of places I name checked are shown here, actually, so you can follow along as you read, if that’s your thang.)

Ten Days ended up being kind of a tour of New York City in 1896. Hank works at a precinct in today’s East Village. There are scenes in the Lower East Side Tenements, uptown in a Fifth Avenue Mansion, at the clubs on the Bowery, at Hank’s house in the West Village, at City Hall in lower Manhattan. There were no subways at this time, no cars; the characters take the elevated trains or horse-driven cabs. But I still wanted this novel to feel essentially New York; I think I’ve accomplished that. I drew on a lot of research, books, transcripts, photos, and so on, to create a fictional story that I still hope feels like it could have happened.

Stay tuned for more info from the blog tour.

The book is out 3/29, but you can preorder it now from the bookstore of your choice. Here are some links:

Kensington
Amazon
B&N
All Romance
Google
Kobo
Apple iBooks

one hero to rule them all…

Or something like that. I’m participating in Kensington’s Hero vs. Hero contest, a March Madness-style bracket of doom wherein the heroes from a number of Kensington books duke it out for heroic supremacy. Lane Carillo from Such a Dance is the nightclub owner, and maybe he’s not the brawniest, but he’s a mobster, so you know he’s got some tricks up his sleeve. You can vote at the abovelinked Kensington tumblr account, and you should. Early and often as Lane’s colleagues might say. Here’s his info:

FACEKate-McMurrayTEXTKate-McMurray

Our first fight is against a gambler named Damian from a Mary Jo Putney book. STIFF COMPETITION! Go vote and help Lane win! You have until midnight on 3/17!

GUEST POST: First Comes Love by Shira Anthony

I am delighted to host Shira Anthony to talk about her book First Comes Love, one of the titles launching Dreamspinner Press’s Dreamspun Desires imprint. I am enormously excited about this new line—my own contribution will be out in July—so I’m happy to host Shira.

All About Dreamspun Desires:

First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

FirstComeMarriageFSBuylinks: Dreamspinner: Amazon: All Romance: Barnes & Noble

Thank you, Kate, for hosting the first stop on the First Comes Marriage book tour! For those readers who may not already know, First Comes Marriage is the second book in the brand new Dreamspun Desires line of gay category romances from Dreamspinner Press. Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for an excerpt from the book, as well as the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Dreamspun Desires are inspired by the old category romances I grew up with. You remember, the Harlequins and Silhouettes that used to be shipped monthly on subscription. Happily-ever-afters that were light on the angst and all about the slow burn. Tropey romances that featured millionaires and naïve virgins where the ending was a marriage proposal.

Well look out old-fashioned romance, because Dreamspinner Press has upped the ante. Will you get all those great tropes like mistaken identity, enemies to lovers, rich man/poor man in these books? Yep. But you’ll also find a more modern take on love and most of these books have some smoking hot sex scenes (not like the old Harlequins I used to read!).

Jesse Donovan’s a billionaire businessman who needs to get married or he’ll lose control of his company. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist who works as a barista to afford New York City rent. When Jesse comes to one of Chris’s readings at a Manhattan cafe, he gives Chris his card. The last thing Chris expects from Jesse is a marriage proposal!

I can’t tell you how much fun I had writing this story! It’s definitely a departure for me, since I gravitate toward angsty stories. But I think I’ll be writing more along the lines of this book, and soon! If you, like me, read the old category romance novels, I think you’ll find that First Comes Marriage feels very familiar. But I think you’ll also find a few twists on the old formula, and I’m not just talking about the gay marriage aspect of the story. Happy reading! –Shira

FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

 Blurb:

Their marriage was supposed to be all business….

When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

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Excerpt from Chapter Six:

Now, standing in the conference room of Windview Enterprises’ corporate headquarters near South Ferry in Manhattan, one of the matching platinum bands Jesse had bought for them in his pants pocket, Chris wondered if he’d wake up from the dream. The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out over Wall Street and the East River through the forest of high-rise buildings.

“Do you, Jesse Chase Donovan, take Christopher James Valentine to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?” the judge asked.

“I do.” As Jesse slipped the ring on Chris’s finger, he met Chris’s gaze with such intensity that for an instant, Chris could almost forget the entire ceremony was a ruse to ensure the future of Windview remained firmly in Jesse’s control. Damn the man for being so attractive. Damn him for being a nice guy, because that was the worst part of it. And the part that had you agreeing.

“And do you, Christopher James Valentine, take Jesse Chase Donovan to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?”

Chris swallowed hard and prayed he didn’t look as incredibly nervous as he felt. “I do.” His hand shook as he took Jesse’s hand and put the ring on his finger.

“Congratulations, Chris and Jesse,” the judge said.

Chris caught Val’s eye for a split second, and he half expected her to urge him to kiss Jesse. But it was Jesse who took charge and blindsided Chris with a kiss.

It started sweetly enough, just Jesse’s lips against his, but instead of releasing Chris, Jesse pulled him tighter against him and pressed his tongue into his mouth. Jesse tasted fucking amazing. Chris didn’t hesitate—their tongues tangled and danced. This close, Jesse smelled good and felt even better. Chris was barely aware of slipping his hands around Jesse’s back before resting them on lean hips. He didn’t think twice as his body and Jesse’s responded in kind.

Someone giggled—Chris recognized Val’s voice—and Jesse pulled abruptly away. Their eyes met for a split second, and Chris thought he saw a mixture of desire and surprise in Jesse’s deep blue eyes. The next thing Chris knew, Val had thrown her arms around him and only his racing heart and tingling lips told him he hadn’t imagined the entire thing.

“Oh, Chris,” Val cooed. “You really did it!”

“Yeah” was the only response Chris could manage. He was still thinking about Jesse’s mouth.

“I guess I was wrong about him being straight,” she whispered mischievously.

Chris was thrilled when Terry grabbed him in a bear hug, because he had no idea how to respond to Val’s comment. He also wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off with Jesse for the show. He supposed if this was going to work, Jesse needed to make the marriage look real. Still, how difficult would it have been to warn Chris that he had that up his sleeve?

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All about Shira

Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Series is loosely based upon her own experiences as a professional musician.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here’s a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca”: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-conten…

You can subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests here: http://www.shiraanthony.com/newsletter/

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Where you can find Shira

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shira.anthony
Goodreads: 
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4641776.Shira_Anthony
Twitter: @WriterShira
Website: 
http://www.shiraanthony.com
E-mail: 
shiraanthony@hotmail.com

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Giveaway:

First Comes Marriage is all above love and romance, and Shira’s grand prize is a dozen red roses for your sweetheart (or whoever you think deserves it!). First prize is a $10 Dreamspinner Gift Certificate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blog Tour Information

Book Tour (1)