4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Historical Romance, Kate McMurray, Paranormal, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Across the East River Bridge by Kate McMurray

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Across the East River Bridge (2nd Edition)

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 239 Pages

At a Glance: Across the East River Bridge, in its second go-round, is every bit as good now as it was in its original release.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: When historian Christopher Finnegan walks into a new museum in Brooklyn, he’s chagrined to learn its curator is his old academic rival, Troy Rafferty. Worse, Troy is convinced the museum is haunted and wants Finn’s help learning more about the ghosts. Finn and Troy have never gotten along and Finn wants to run screaming, but then Troy offers him an intriguing proposal: Troy will help Finn with a research project for his overbearing boss if Finn will help Troy solve a mystery involving two men who died in the building under mysterious circumstances in 1878.

Finn and Troy piece together the two men’s lives–and the quiet romance that grew between them–through diaries, newspaper clippings, and police reports. They’re both soon convinced the men were murdered. They’re also convinced the ghosts are real even Finn witnesses paranormal phenomena he can’t deny–and that they’re capable of affecting thoughts, feelings, and actions. When Finn and Troy start falling for each other despite years of animosity, Finn worries he’s being manipulated by the ghosts to stay with Troy and solve the case. Troy is convinced the love between them is real, but he’ll need to figure out how to get rid of the ghosts in order to prove it.

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Review: I first read Kate McMurray’s Across the East River Bridge back in September of 2012. A few years and more than a few hundred books later, when I chose to review it in its second edition release, I’ll confess that while I had the plot basics down, I clearly had forgotten some of the finer details that made it such a fantastic read—both the first time and now, the second. This book is many things rolled into one: an enemies-to-lovers story, a contemporary romance, a historical romance, a tragic romance, and then, to top it all off, there’s a paranormal mystery dating back to the 1870s that this author managed to finesse into a touching and sometimes intense read.

McMurray leads us into the story in modern day Brooklyn, where we learn that Christopher “Finn” Finnegan and Troy Rafferty have a history of their own—rivals from their college days, Finn has spent more than a decade loathing golden boy Troy for sabotaging his academic career by discrediting his dissertation research, which then resulted in Finn’s funding being pulled. Amongst the animosity that Finn still feels toward Troy all these years later is an undercurrent of sexual tension that’s been there between them from the start. And, added to it, there’s an intense frustration that Finn is still attracted to someone he hates so thoroughly—or tries to hate so thoroughly, at least. The setup for them working together, then, is a great foundation for the conflicted feelings Finn has throughout the book—how can he hate Troy and still want him so intensely? And how can Finn look inward in any sort of honest and rational way and continue to blame Troy for his failings? I have to say I felt a lot of frustration myself toward Finn throughout this book. His stubbornness and scapegoating of Troy makes it hard to excuse some of Finn’s actions and reactions, but a lot of that for me is because Kate McMurray makes Troy such a likeable and charming character. Where Troy may be intended to be Finn’s foil, it actually worked the other way around, and I liked the turning of the tables.

Where the author infuses this book with a terrible poignancy is in the historical research Finn and Troy delve into to uncover the mystery of Brill House, the museum of which Troy is now curator. There is a ghostly presence or two in Brill House that seems to lead directly to one-time owner Theodore Brill, and a border who eventually became Teddy’s lover, George Washington Cutler. Their story, of course, carries with it all the ingrained difficulties of the time in which these two men lived and loved. As Troy and Finn continue their investigation into Teddy and Wash’s deaths—an apparent murder/suicide—they uncover more questions than answers about the way in which the couple died. And, in the process, begin to agitate the spirits of the deceased as the ghosts become desperate for the truth of their deaths to be revealed. I 100% loved this aspect of the novel, not only from an emotional standpoint but from a writing standpoint as well. As Finn and Troy get closer to the truth, the more the tension and suspense escalate, and once the storyline reaches its climax, it plays out in true page-turner fashion.

Troy and Finn’s interactions throughout the story are part antagonistic, part full-on sexual, and their relationship builds from that as well as the eventual realization on Finn’s part that he’s going to have to give up the ghost, so to speak, and stop trying to make Troy the enemy. As feelings change and begin to look a lot like two men falling in love, the underlying question they can’t answer for sure is, how much is this metaphysical mystery manipulating them and their emotions. Finn’s not only skeptical about nearly every aspect of Troy’s theories on what happened to Teddy and Wash, but he’s so busy hanging on to the past that he can’t see what a great future Troy’s offering him, and I liked how these relationships contrasted—we see what a gift it is for Troy and Finn to be able to live together openly, a luxury that Teddy and Wash didn’t have. And, it may well have cost them their lives.

Across the East River Bridge, in its second go-round, is every bit as good now as it was in its original release. Whether you’ve read it before, or are considering reading it for the first time, I can say it’s a solid story that comes highly recommended.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy Across the East River Bridge here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Kate McMurray

Guest Post: The Long Slide Home by Kate McMurray

The Long Slide Home

Baseball and the Rainbow League

By Kate McMurray

It’s public knowledge that I’m a baseball fan, right?

I figure sports fandom is one of those things that knows no gender. At least not in my house growing up. My dad watches all of the sports. All of them. Even golf. And Sunday was for watching sports, so that’s what you’d find him doing. (True story: until he retired, pretty much the only things he ever read were trade publications related to his job and Sports Illustrated. Now that he has more leisure time, he seems to be in a phase where he reads rock star autobiographies, so he’s branching out, I guess?) Anyway, sports on everywhere. Even my mother watches football sometimes.

My formative moment happened at age twelve when my dad took me to my first Yankees game. I was hooked. We lost to the Orioles, too, I remember. I didn’t even care. And then, blah blah, I went to college in Massachusetts during the Yankees’ late-90s dynasty blah blah super fan blah blah wore Jeter jersey in the dorms just to antagonize people blah. Having to defend my team loyalty to the Boston fans I went to school with only made me a more devout New York fan, so you can imagine my delight when I moved to my first apartment in New York City and, on summer nights when a game was on TV and the Yankees made some truly remarkable plays? You could hear people in the buildings neighboring mine cheering. It was awesome.

I get that I don’t look like your typical sports fan. I like fashion and art and design, too. I’m not particularly athletic. I listen to opera for fun sometimes. I’m multifaceted, what can I say?

But this is old news. Let me tell you about two weird baseball-related things that happened this year.

First, I went to Flame Con in Brooklyn back in June. Flame Con is essentially an LGBT Comic Con, and it was held at Brooklyn’s legendary Grand Prospect Hall (you owe it to yourself to watch the commercial). Dreamspinner Press had a table there, but as I am not a writer of the sorts of sub-genres they were promoting (fantasy, sci fi, superheroes, etc.) I just went to the con as a spectator with a bunch of my friends. Who all cosplayed, by the way. I wore a dress with dinosaurs on it, because I like whimsy but full-on costumes make me uncomfortable. Anyway, my entourage members were all big comic book fans, so they were delighted to talk to some of the artists and get their pictures taken with other cosplayers. I, on the other hand, found a guy who draws a webcomic about a gay baseball league (sound familiar?!) and started chatting with him as my group moved through the ballroom of exhibitors. My friends left me behind. “Kate’s found her people,” somebody said.

So, leave it to me to find the one baseball fan in the sea of superhero comics, I guess.

The second thing that happened was a couple of weeks ago at a reader/author meet and greet. A young man walked up and started asking about my books. Trying to ascertain which of the books I had available I should give him, I asked, “Do you like baseball?” He looked at me blankly for a long moment and then said, “I’m gay,” as if that was an obvious answer to the question. When I clarified that, actually, I knew many a gay sports fan, he laughed and explained he just didn’t care for sports. So I gave him a different book.

I mean, your interests are your interests. Not everyone like sports (or fashion, or opera, or romance novels).

I think I like reading about things about which I am nerdy as much as I like reading about completely unfamiliar things. I tried to strike the balance in the Rainbow League books so that people who aren’t into baseball could still find them accessible but the hard core baseball fans could find delightful things, too. There’s a sabermetrics joke in the first book that I think probably six people will get, but I’m fine with that as long as readers can still enjoy the stories and larger themes.

So I hope you check them out!

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The_Long_Slide_Home_Final_FLATBlurb: Nate and Carlos have been the best of friends since their childhood playing baseball together in the Bronx. For the past few years, Nate’s been in love with Carlos, though he’s never acted on it and Carlos has never given any indication that he returns Nate’s feelings. Nate has finally given up, determined to move on and find someone else, especially now that Carlos has shacked up with his boyfriend, Aiden.

Carlos doesn’t understand why Nate has suddenly gotten weird, acting cold and distant at team practice for the Rainbow League. But if that’s how things are going to be, Carlos is done trying to figure Nate out. But then Aiden reveals he has a violent side, and Carlos needs his best friend’s support. On top of that, he starts to realize his feelings for Nate might not be limited to friendship. But in the aftermath of his relationship with Aiden, and with Nate having problems of his own, the timing is all wrong to make a real relationship work. As emotions run high, both have a hard time figuring out what is real and what is just convenient.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press || Amazon || All Romance eBooks || Barnes & Noble

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Kate McMurrayBio: Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Links: Website || Twitter || Facebook

TLSH

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Hi, everyone, welcome back for a look at what we have coming up in this busy week ahead! This may well be the most guests we’ve ever welcomed in a week’s time, and I can’t wait to share it all with you: the guest posts, the giveaways, and, of course, the reviews.

Here’s what’s on tap!

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MondaySara Alva kicks off our week with a Countdown to GayRomLit guest post to chat about her new audiobook release of Pura Vida

RJ Scott and Meredith Russell will also join us on their Forever in the Sun blog tour, book six in the Sapphire Cay series

And, as if that lineup wasn’t fantastic enough, we’ll also welcome Cardeno C. on the Strange Bedfellows audiobook tour

Tuesday – Today we welcome another trio of authors, starting off with Kate McMurray on The Long Slide Home blog tour, book three in the Rainbow League series

We’ll also welcome author Ravella Hawthorne on The King’s Command blog tour

And finally, Brita Addams will join us today to chat about the Newbie Blues

Wednesday – We’ll have our second GayRomLit attending author, Christina Pilz, joining us today to help celebrate the countdown and chat about how she fell in love with Oliver Twist

Also dropping by for a visit is Charlie Cochet on her Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts tour

ThursdayRebecca Cohen will join us today on her Overly Dramatic blog tour

Rhys Ford will also be here today to chat about her contribution in the Charmed and Dangerous anthology

FridayCharley Descoteaux pops in today on her Buchanan House blog tour

We’ll also welcome author Sarah Masters today to chat about her new book Outcast Cowboys

Saturday – Finally, closing things out for us today is author Alicia Cameron, with an excerpt and giveaway of her new book Sedition

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And that does it for the week ahead. Until next time, happy reading!

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kate McMurray, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: The Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Title: The Silence of the Stars

Author: Kate McMurray

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours

At a glance: I really enjoyed this book, but the narrator didn’t make much of an impression.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.

Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head.

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Review: I really enjoyed this book. It seemed real to me to have men of two completely different backgrounds get together and not have everything simply fall into place. Their lives are messy, and it takes some time to get things figured out.

Everett is from a more upper-class background with all that comes with that. Sandy has his own demons that haunt him. This story definitely worked, but at times it kind of got a bit predictable. I love that Sandy starts going to a therapist for his issues, but I felt that Everett’s inner monologue regarding whether he could be with someone like Sandy got a bit old. It never honestly seemed to come to a head between the two of them, but it was a bit repetitive.

I am born and raised in New York and love that Kate set this is NY. I really enjoyed that the city was somewhat of a character in the book. Overall a well written novel. I would definitely visit this world again.

Narration: Another first time narrator for me in Michael Ferraiuolo, it is weird that I didn’t have much of a reaction to his performance. I didn’t love him, I didn’t hate him. He was a means to an end. I guess that in itself isn’t good. I feel he did an adequate job but didn’t leave much of an impression.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy The Silence of the Stars here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kate McMurray, Reviewed by Janet

Review: The Windup by Kate McMurray

Title: The Windup (The Rainbow League: Book One)

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages

At a Glance: This first offering in the Rainbow League series was excellent.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.

Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid-back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.

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Review: The Windup is the first of what looks to be three novels in a series about a Rainbow baseball league in New York City. The subject of baseball in no surprise to any fan of Kate McMurray, and as usual, it is easy to see that she knows her stuff. But what it also does is provide a timeline for the relationships that are examined in the book. Baseball has a season, spring to fall, and that is the timeline for the characters to interact and develop their relationships, both of friendship between the players and other teams, and the romances that are the focus of the story.

As the first book in the series, The Windup has a lot of information about a lot of characters, I found the vast amount of names to be rather confusing in the beginning, almost like I was the new player in an established league, and I had to play catch up to fit in and get caught up on the histories and conflicts of the group. It was a sneaky technique that the author used to firmly place our sympathies with Ian, and invest our emotions in him. We were him. At the same time, we got our first impressions of him and the difficulties he faced each day, living with an anxiety disorder. Ty was harder to get a fix on, and again that was on purpose, as his insecurities were hidden and we had to learn to see below the surface of his character and get to know him in a deeper way. Very clever character building by Kate McMurray.

New York City is also explored in this book as a tactic of Ty’s mission to help Ian see another side of it, and to grow to love the city, in the hopes that he might want to stay there, as Ty doesn’t want him to leave. It was fun to do the not so touristy things along with the guys, and I enjoyed the outings and the glimpses into a city that has whole worlds within its limits.

While the Rainbow League was playing, we meet future story’s characters and are able to see where their stories might go. But at the end of the season, the story fall’s back on Ty and Ian, and focuses on the resolution of their conflicts, allowing them to shine as this novel’s MCs and prove their worth to each other. I loved the ending of the book. The lust they shared was allowed to grow into love, and a future together was defined. It all worked for me, the ends were tied, and all of the issues were addressed.

Kate McMurray may be known for her love of baseball, but I really hope this series establishes her mastery of dialogue and humor in her work. The book plays out like a movie reel in your head, constantly full of color and sound, the action of the games, and the bars the players go to afterwards. But for me, the snark and verbal clues that she crafted are what lingered, and I am eager to see what happens next in the series.

I have to admit to going immediately back and re-reading this book, as I turned the pages so quickly in excitement of the story I was worried I hadn’t absorbed all the details. It was as good as I thought it was, and that is where I recognised the quality of the verbal play in the book. I can only urge you to read this book and discover for yourself the skills and talents Kate McMurray shows her mastery of. This first offering in the Rainbow League series was excellent, and I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next books as soon as they are ready.

TNA_Signature_Janet






You can buy The Windup here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Dreamspinner Press, Kate McMurray

Character Interview: The Windup by Kate McMurray

The Windup

Character Interview with Ty from The Windup

By Kate McMurray

I thought, in honor of the release of the first book in my Rainbow League series, The Windup, it might be fun to sit down for an interview with Ty, one of the heroes of the book. The book is out now for your reading pleasure. So let’s just get right into it.

KATE: Hi, Ty. How are you?

TY: Can’t complain. Looking forward to the new baseball season.

KATE: Aren’t we all. So, tell us about yourself. How did you end up in New York?

TY: I grew up outside Dallas. My family is Texas, through and through. I was what you might call different. My family wanted me to do something manly like join the army or become a firefighter, but I wanted to be an artist. So I moved to New York for college and I’ve been here ever since.

KATE: Artists can be manly.

TY: Don’t I know it! I may design things for a living, but I’m all man, baby.

KATE: How did you get into baseball?

TY: Honestly? I played a little in school. Barely. Really, I joined the Rainbow League to meet guys.

KATE: Not for a profound love of the game?

TY: *laughs* Oh, honey, no. Baseball player butts, that’s all I’m in this for.

KATE: Can’t say I blame you.

TY: I knew you would get where I’m coming from. *holds up fist for bumping*

KATE: *fist bump* You have something of a reputation for being the token slut of the league.

TY: I don’t think that rep is entirely deserved. I mean, I get around, sure, or I used to before I met Ian. But tales of my exploits are greatly exaggerated.

KATE: Does that bother you?

TY: Nah. I don’t really care about what other people think.

KATE: Let’s back up for a moment. Tell us about the Rainbow League.

TY: It’s a hobby sports league for LGBT people. They offer a bunch of sports, but we, of course, are primarily concerned with baseball.

KATE: Of course.

TY: I mean, talk about reputations. You’re obsessed with baseball.

KATE: Not obsessed.

TY: Aren’t, like, all of your books about baseball?

KATE: No. I mean, maybe, like, half. But my last three books had almost no baseball-related content at all! I’ve written about opera singers and army vets and regular guys who live in New York who don’t even watch baseball. Just because I’m best known for this little book called Out in the Field about two Major League baseball players…

TY: Sure, lady. Anyway, the baseball part of the Rainbow League is co-run by my buddy Josh. He and this guy Will, who is kind of a competitive jerk-off if you ask me, manage eight teams. They all have dumb names, but they’re kind of fun. I play for the Brooklyn Hipsters.

KATE: Sure, dumb names. If by “dumb” you mean “cute and clever.”

TY: Keep telling yourself that. So, we play games once a week all summer and have practice in Prospect Park on the weekends, which is convenient because it’s right near where I live in Brooklyn.

KATE: Me too. We’re neighbors, you know.

TY: Wow, Katie. Your creativity runs over. Having a character live in your neighborhood, you must have broken your back doing research.

KATE: Look, bud. I could have made you live in the suburbs. Or Staten Island.

TY: Perish the thought.

KATE: You mentioned Ian, your boyfriend. What’s he like?

TY: He’s great! He works in hotels. He’s like that guy with that show on the travel channel where he goes to a hotel and makes it over in three days because it’s about to go out of business. Except Ian is hot and less shouty. Also, it takes him a year or two to rehabilitate a hotel.

KATE: How did you meet?

TY: He joined the Rainbow League. He went to high school with my friend Josh. When Ian moved back to New York after a while traveling around for work, Josh persuaded him to join. We recruited him to our team. It was lust at first sight, you know. I’m irresistible.

KATE: Sure you are.

TY: Anyway, Ian’s an anxious, neurotic sort, but I’ve figured out some ways to, uh, help him relax.

KATE: I’m glad, but keep it PG. We’re just about out of time, but I’ll let you have the last word. Tell us a little bit about what happens with you and Ian in The Windup?

TY: I don’t want to spoil anything, but basically, Ian and I meet and instantly fall hopelessly in love.

KATE: Uh, that’s not what happens.

TY: Okay, fine. We meet and start dating and, you know, I fall for him pretty hard because he’s a great guy, but we have some communication problems, and also, he’s determined to leave New York City when his job ends in a year. So I spend a good part of the book trying to persuade him to stay in New York. With me. So it’s not all sunshine and homeruns. There, happy now?

KATE: Yes, thank you.

TY: Want more? Check out The Windup, now available everywhere!

KATE: Thanks, Ty.

TY: My pleasure.

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The Wind Up_FINALBlurb: Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.

Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid-back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press

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BlogTourCard-01Bio: Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her website at katemcmurray.com

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, I hope you’re all having an outstanding weekend! Welcome back for a peek at who we have coming up for you in the week ahead. There’ll be more great guest posts, as well as some awesome giveaways and, of course, reviews each day, guaranteed.

Here’s what’s in store:

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Monday – We’ve got two great guests to kick off the week, the first—Ally Blue, who stops by on the Down blog tour

We’ll also be hosting Sue Brown today on the In-Decision blog tour

TuesdayCarole Cummings joins us today to talk symbolism on the Wolf’s-own: Ghost blog tour

We’ll also have Alina Propescu with us today on her Craving Stains blog tour

Wednesday – Getting us to the midpoint of the week, EE Montgomery stops in today on the Just the Way You Are tour

Vanessa Sims is also with us on her Freeing His Mercenary blog tour

ThursdayCharlie Cochrane is our guest today on her Lessons for Suspicious Minds tour

Author JR Gray is also with us today to talk about his book Visible Scars

FridayRJ Scott joins us today on her Guarding Morgan book blast tour

Saturday – And closing out our week, we have Kate McMurray joining us on her tour for The Windup

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That does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kate McMurray, Reviewed by Janet

Review: When the Planets Align by Kate McMurray

Title: When the Planets Align

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

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.
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Dreamspinner Press, Kate McMurray

Interview: When the Planets Align by Kate McMurray

PlanetsBlogTour

TNA: Hi, Kate, welcome back to The Novel Approach. I’m so pleased to have you here with us today. Why don’t we start with the basics? Tell us a little bit about yourself, please.

Kate: I am so pleased to be here! About me: I am the author of ten novels and a handful of novellas and short stories, with lots more on the way in 2015 and beyond. I write mostly gay contemporary romance, but sometimes I shake it up and write paranormal or historical. When I’m not writing, I work as a nonfiction editor. I live in New York City, Brooklyn specifically, in an apartment over an ice cream parlor. Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek BannerHappy Holidays to all of you, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have coming up in the week ahead.

I got a fantastic response to my call for reviewers earlier this week, better than I could have ever imagined, so I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce the newest members of the TNA review team:
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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kate McMurray, Reviewed by Tina

Opposites Attract in Kate McMurray’s “The Silence of the Stars”


“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.” ― Michael Connelly


Title: The Silence of the Stars

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.
Continue reading

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Dreamspinner Press, Kate McMurray

Throwback Thursday And “The Silence of the Stars” – A Guest Post And Giveaway By Kate McMurray


Since it’s Thursday, I thought it might be fun to revisit the past. So let’s take a trip in the Wayback Machine to the late-1980s, when a cute 9-year-old picked up a violin for the first time.

I was blessed to grow up in a lower-middle class New Jersey suburb that somehow had one of the best arts programs in the state. I started taking violin lessons when they were offered to all fourth-grade students. I actually wanted to play clarinet, but the school didn’t have any loaner clarinets available. They did have violins. I figured I’d play for a year and then switch. But then a funny thing happened: I was good enough at the violin that my teacher talked me out of switching to clarinet. And so a young violinist was born.
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A.J. Corza, Amelia C. Gormley, Dan Skinner, EM Lynley, GayRomLit, GotYouCovrd, Josephine Myles, Kate McMurray, Lou Sylvre, Poppy Dennison, Rafe Haze, Rain Carrington, RJ Scott, Skylar M. Cates, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week!


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had an outstanding week!

We’ve got another busy and fun filled week coming up, with more great guests, giveaways, GRL Celebration fun, and, of course, more reviews.

Here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondaySkylar M. Cates kicks off the week on her The Only Guy Blog Tour, the follow up to The Guy From Glamour

Amelia C. Gormley drops in as well, on her Saugatuck Summer Blog Tour

TuesdayRain Carrington is our guest today on the Honky Tonk Series: Book Three Blog Tour.

EM Lynley is also with us to do a Cover Reveal of her new novel Bound for Trouble

WednesdayPoppy Dennison stops in on her Belligerent Beta Blog Tour

A.J. Corza is back today with Got You Covered, and another great cover art review

ThursdayKate McMurray is dropping by to talk about her new novel The Silence of the Stars

Rafe Haze is also back today on his The Next Blog Tour as part of our GRL Celebration Countdown

FridayRJ Scott is our guest with the second GRL Celebration visit of the week, to promote her book A Reason to Stay

Dan Skinner also drops in to kick off a blog tour for his newest novel The Price of Dick

SaturdayJosephine Myles is our guest on the Stuff Blog Tour, the follow up to Junk

Sunday – And finally, to wrap up the week, Lou Sylvre is here for a visit, and she’s bring along a little Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Kate McMurray, Kerry Freeman, Marguerite Labbe, Shae Connor

Welcome, Sports Fans! It’s The Playing Ball Anthology Tour – Little League, Where it All Starts



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Okay, as I’ve said before, I’ve always loved baseball, it’s in my blood, but I have to say that what really made me fall in love with it forever was by watching Little League games. I was never very good at sports myself. I was the girl picking flowers in the field at the soccer game instead of chasing the ball. I was the one who always struck out swinging. Not to mention I was that child that ducked and covered when a ball came my way in volleyball.

However, when my little brother made the All Star Little League team I was hooked. It didn’t matter that by then I was a teenager who probably should’ve found cooler things to do if I was in any way normal, thankfully I’m not. Instead, I went to my brother’s games. I was the one who had to report on the progress with the game when I showed up late to find out that my mother had gotten every spectator kicked off the field because of her rant to the umpire. (She has never and will never change.)

I loved the chaos of Little League games, like the time an ice cream truck showed up mid-game and both teams left dust on the field in their effort to mob the truck first. Or the time one kid ran the bases backward. I loved how my little sister had to stop at each base and hop on it, she couldn’t run through it to the next one to save her life. (She ended up marrying my brother’s teammate from his All Star days.) Or how my son had to slide into each base and unfortunately fired up the rest of the team to do the same much to the coaches’ dismay.

I also loved the brilliance those kids could show sometimes. The way that I would sometimes forget I was watching kids play because they made it look so freaking flawless. Freaking kids. It blew my mind. Some games I will never forget. I won’t forget their passion, or their love of the game. I won’t forget the hours my brother logged in at the local batting cage, or how supportive those owners were of our county’s Little League team. Or how the local minor league team gave each team a chance to play a game on the “big field” and each time a chance to interact with the players at a game. My son stood with the second baseman during the National Anthem.

These are all memories that have lasted a lifetime and they definitely were an inspiration behind my story “Wild Pitch.” In it best friends and ex-Major League players Ruben and Alan coach rival Little League teams as they start their own All Star season.

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PLAYING BALL

“The one constant through all the years… has been baseball.” — Field of Dreams

Baseball, America’s Pastime, carries with it a mythology like no other sport, entwined with the ups and downs of the nation. In Playing Ball, authors Shae Connor, Kerry Freeman, Marguerite Labbe, and Kate McMurray explore the love for baseball and among the men who play it, from the 1920s through modern times. These four stories tell the tales of baseball men who find love off the field, whether with the heir to a baseball empire, a sports reporter, a fan, or even each other after their playing careers come to an end.

Print link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4198
Ebook link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4197

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.

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 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.

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.

EXCERPT FROM WILD PITCH

The sun beat down on the diamond and the air had dust kicked up from dozens of cleats. Though it was warm, it wasn’t as humid as it would be back in Florida. Most winters, Ruben couldn’t figure out how he’d ended up in Vermont, of all places, but he loved the summers, even if they were too short. He loved the mist on the mountains on quiet mornings and the view from his house of the picturesque lake. Even more than that, he loved the community in this small town and their passion for the local Little League teams.

Ruben looked around at the ring of expectant young faces covered in sweat, all with streaks of dirt embedded into their uniforms. Was there any better sport than baseball? Despite everything that had been dragging him down and his argument with Alan, it hadn’t been hard to throw himself into the scrimmage, not with all these boys looking to him and his assistant coach, Laurie, for direction.

“That was a great scrimmage, guys. You keep that heart when the games begin, and we’ll take this the whole way.”

“Coach Hartner has got real good hitters on his team,” Sammy said as he looked back at Alan’s team, huddled by the other dugout.

“And we have good hitters on ours too. Don’t let him psych you out, now.” Ruben tugged on the bill of Sammy’s cap. “Besides, if you keep pitching the way you do, you’ll leave them swinging at nothing but air.”

“Hey, Coach, you gonna do the game ball this year?” Christian chimed in, setting his glove on his head like a makeshift baseball cap. Ruben refrained from shaking his head as he struck a pose. The kid was a good player when he focused on the game instead of midfield song and dance antics. His biggest hurdle was the need to be constantly doing something.

“Absolutely.” Ruben retrieved one of the balls they’d used in practice, the pristine white of the leather all but gone behind ground-in dirt. He signed it and tossed the ball to Laurie to sign as well. He gave one ball away at the end of every scrimmage and game, and made sure all the kids got one over the course of the season. “Okay, this ball goes to Parker. You’ve showed the most improvement since we started practice and you kept your head in the game today.”

“Wicked!” Parker’s face lit up as he caught the ball, and his teammates congratulated him before racing off to raid the cooler for their drinks and snacks. For a few minutes there was nothing but chaos as parents packed up their folding chairs and tried to get their kids’ equipment sorted out. Ruben glanced across at the other dugout and picked out Alan’s familiar figure as he shoved spare bats into the duffel bag.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL!

To celebrate the release of PLAYING BALL and our blog tour, Shae, Kate, Kerry, and I have put together a pretty awesome giveaway.

Grand prize: A print copy of PLAYING BALL signed by all four authors, a unisex BBQ apron featuring hot athletes from Originals by Lauren, and swag from all four authors.

Runner-up prize: An ebook copy of PLAYING BALL and swag from all four authors.

The giveaway will run from 12AM Central on September 21, 2013 to 12AM Central on October 11, 2013. To give an opportunity for the authors to get together to sign the book and gather swag, the winners will be picked and the prizes shipped after the end of GayRomLit 2013.

But there are some rules:

You must be a resident of Earth, 18 years or older, who lives in a place where the viewing of adult material is legal. By entering the giveaway, you are indicating your agreement to the rules. Winners must provide a physical mailing address to receive their prizes. If a winner does not respond to the prize notification within 48 hours, the prize will be re-awarded.

Good luck!

CLICK HERE TO WIN

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Dreamspinner Press, Kate McMurray

“What There Is” Leaves Room For More

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child



I have loved the lion’s share of Kate McMurray’s previous work. With one exception, they have all been four or five star rated by me. That’s why when I got the opportunity to review her latest novella, I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it left me wanting more.

The title, What There Is, fit with my reading experience in that what there was of this novella was ok. The characters were likeable, if un-original. Unoriginal works for a reason, readers like it. The “type” is tried and true. Kate used a jock and a nerd. Old and successful pairing. They clicked well. I just wanted more.

Justin was a professional baseball pitcher until he injured his shoulder. Now he is very unfulfilled coaching high school baseball. He is looking for an apartment and answers an ad placed by Mark. Justin takes the room.

Mark is a stereotypical nerd. He writes sports statistics, though, so he and Justin have a love of baseball in common. Mark admits that he pictured his life differently. He thought he’d be settled down and married by now. Mark is just too shy to meet men. Justin decides to “help” Mark find the right man and suggest that the two of them take a cooking class together and see if Mark can meet a man in the class.

Mark is attracted to another student, Dave. They begin to date and, of course, Justin is completely jealous. Mark is also not feeling the spark with Dave that he thinks should be there. Instead, his attraction to Justin is growing.

All these things together, in a full-length novel, with complete character development and back stories would have great potential. The way this novella is written, they just seem shallow and rushed. I wish Kate McMurray had been able to give us another 200 pages of Mark and Justin because then I probably wouldn’t be able to stop gushing about them!

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy What There Is here:

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Kate McMurray, Loose Id

Across the East River Bridge by Kate McMurray

“Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.” – Voltaire

Brooklyn, New York, 1878—it was an exceedingly dangerous time to be a gay man. In fact, for Theodore Cummings Brill and George Washington Cutler it was downright deadly. A crime that held all the earmarks of a double homicide was dismissed by the police as a murder/suicide when it was discovered that Teddy and Wash were so much more than simply dear friends. For more than a century, it was believed the men died as a result of a lovers’ quarrel, just punishment for their perversions according to the moral judgments of the time—but their tormented spirits have clung to the physical plane, languishing in a purgatory of history’s making, just waiting for their moment of truth to see the light and to set them free.

When Christopher Finnegan shows up at the now historic Brill House on a research mission for his boss, the last person he expected to meet with was his arch-nemesis Troy Rafferty, the home’s curator. Finn and Troy share a past layered, in turns, by competition, acrimony, and uncontrolled lust…always followed by anger and regret on Finn’s part. It’s a history that, for Finn, has constructed a wall, brick by contempt filled brick, between them, and has shaped his perception of their shared past, making Troy the scapegoat for Finn’s academic failures; not that Troy is entirely innocent, but he’s certainly not entirely to blame either. It’s been a decade and a half of antagonism and contention between the two men, but circumstances never cease to keep throwing them together. Now it seems more paranormal intervention than serendipity that has put them on a path toward reconciliation. The big question, however, is whether the feelings they have for each other are their own, or merely the ephemeral strains of the love Teddy and Wash felt for each other. When Troy and Finn begin digging into Wash and Teddy’s private journals, begin to piece together the circumstances of their deaths, it opens a hole between the physical and metaphysical realms, and becomes exceedingly clear that the ghosts of a long ago past will not allow Troy and Finn to rest until a name is given to their killer.

Across the East River Bridge is a seamless merging of the past and the present, of two distinctly different romances separated by more than a century, wrapped within a mystery that ties them all together in the present. The story is a careful unraveling of secrets and clues that push Troy and Finn in the direction of a future that can hold together only if they can find a killer who’s been dead for more than a hundred years, then come to trust that what they feel for each other is real. This is one of those books that not only entertained but also informed, which resulted in a really lovely read for me.

Kate McMurray is a GayRomLit participating author. You can check out Kate’s blog HERE.

Buy Across the East River Bridge HERE.

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Kate McMurray, Loose Id

Out in the Field by Kate McMurray

After reading Joshua Martino’s Fontana, the outstanding fictional tale of a professional baseball player who is outed by a journalist and then falls victim to the aftermath of that invasion of his privacy, I was both hesitant and tempted to read Kate McMurray’s Out in the Field. Where Fontana does absolutely nothing to romanticize the plight of baseball player Ricky Fontana, Out in the Field takes a slightly less heart-wrenching but no less touching look at what it means to be gay in a world where testosterone and machismo and intolerance drive the attitudes of some players and fans alike.

Matt Blanco and Ignacio “Iggy” Rodriguez are the ballplayers who star in Kate McMurray’s fictional exposé of what it means to be forced to hide who they are from the prying eyes of the media and the public in order to play in the sport at which they both excel. Iggy is the rising star, whereas Matt is approaching the twilight days of his legendary career with the Brooklyn Eagles, and theirs is a May/December romance that thrives but is also tested by the terror of being exposed to the world, fearing the backlash of such a revelation and its impact upon their personal, and especially their professional, lives.

Theirs is a story of courage, which doesn’t have anything to do with being unafraid and has everything to do with facing that fear and persevering and standing up, finally, and being proud of not only who you are but also of whom you love. Matt doesn’t come out until after he’s already retired and written a memoir of his days in baseball, exposing what it means to be a closeted athlete, which doesn’t diminish that courage at all, but it’s really Iggy who risks everything by confessing his sexuality during his ascension into the major celebrity of professional sports and product endorsement.

There’s a line in Fontana that places the pettiness of this topic directly into the laps of those who seem to believe the private lives of public people are fair game—“The question isn’t, are we ready for a gay athlete? The question is, why do we have to ask if we’re ready?” And that’s truly the heart of the issue in Out in the Field; why is it even an issue at all, and why does finding out an outstanding athlete is gay suddenly diminish all that he’s accomplished and all that he’s still capable of?

Kate McMurray tackles this subject and wraps it in the romantic story of two men who become so much more than just teammates; they become each other’s touchstones, where home is wherever the other is and it becomes increasingly obvious that they would be willing to sacrifice everything if that sacrifice means they could live and love each other openly.

In Iggy and Matt’s world, it all works out much better than it did for Ricky Fontana, and these two books exemplify the extreme opposite answers to this single question. It’s difficult to say which would be the more realistic outcome—whether it would be as crushing as the aftermath of Ricky’s outing or whether it would be rather less complicated (and maybe too simplistic), as it was for Matt and Iggy. Maybe the reality lies somewhere in between, and maybe someday, who a person loves won’t be permitted to bring into question whether he can still play the sport he loves.

Buy Out in the Field HERE.

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All Romance Ebooks, Kate McMurray, Small Gems

Small Gems – Lead Us Not by Kate McMurray

”Tis one thing to be tempted…another thing to fall.” – William Shakespeare – Measure for Measure (Act II, Scene I)

Lead Us Not is a scary-tale. No, not in a things-that-go-bump-in-the-night kind of way, but in a life-seems-to-change-overnight kind of way. You meet the man of your dreams, fall in love, move to New York City to pursue your hopes of becoming actors, and the next thing you know, eight years after you met, a single bit of innuendo from a near total stranger has you questioning every last thing you know to be true about the man you love and know better than anyone else in the world.

That’s the way temptation begins—with doubts—because even with reassurances and promises, those doubts can continue to fester in the darkest recesses of your mind, causing you to question every action, every reaction, every word, every excuse when the one you love is late or begins behaving differently or working longer hours. And the longer those questions and doubts hang out there, unspoken and unanswered, the wider the rift and the deeper the silence becomes until suddenly you find yourself looking. You see someone else in a different light, and you listen to their offers and their propositions…and you consider…but only for a moment.

And then you either succumb or resist. You are either condemned or delivered. The choice is yours alone but the consequences, bad or good, will be shared. The pain will be doubled if you choose poorly.

See? Scary.

Kate McMurray has written a story so subtle that it fairly blindsided me with its cunning. It made me question, “what if?” What if I was lead into temptation and I followed willingly, and then I’d fallen before I even realized I’d been pushed?

That’s exactly what reading this story was like—falling and loving every word of it.

Download this FREE story HERE.

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