Saturday, June 28, 2014

Author Saturday Spotlight: Kate McMurray *Interview and Giveaway*

A great writer is an educated writer, right? True. However, you'd be surprised how many authors self educate themselves. Throughout the course of writing a book they learn about things they were never taught in the classroom. They take that and add it to what they already know and now you have a wonderful book! A tale that will stay with you long after you close it.

Kate McMurray takes what she loves and knows and researches the rest. Just like her love for knitting she weaves a story so beautiful you only wish it can last forever.

Kate is offering a readers choice giveaway for you all today and there are SO MANY to choose from. I can't cover them all for you but I will provide you with links that you can check them out. I also have a kickass interview with the talented author where you'll learn a little bit about how she tics and see what she's up to.

Let's talk books...

Naturally you can go to Kate's Goodreads page and see all she has to offer there > Kate McMurray on GR but I am going to show you a few

Baseball fan? Romance fan? Well THIS IS FOR YOU! It tore my heart out, fed my love of the game and made me feel ALL the feels!!!

Ignacio Rodriquez, Iggy to his friends, has been dreaming about playing baseball for the Brooklyn Eagles ever since he was a boy. His dream comes true and then some; he finds himself playing alongside his idol, first baseman Matt Blanco, who is everything he dreamed of and more.

Matt Blanco is entering the twilight of his career, plagued by injuries and two decades of lying about who and what he is, but he thinks he still has a few good years left in the major leagues. Then he meets Iggy and everything turns upside down. But carrying on an affair with a much younger man is one thing. Having an affair with his teammate introduces a whole new set of complications. When a trade and a career-ending injury threaten to keep them apart, both men have to figure out what they’re willing to risk for the love of baseball and each other

Music fan? Well Kate has 2 books that I think you will just DIE for!

Giovanni Boca was destined to go down in history as an opera legend until a vocal chord injury abruptly ended his career. Now he teaches voice lessons at a prestigious New York City music school. During auditions for his summer opera workshop, he finds his protégé in fourteen-year-old Emma McPhee. Just as intriguing to Gio is Emma's father Mike, a blue-collar guy who runs a business renovating the kitchens and bathrooms of New York's elite to finance his daughter's dream.

Mike’s partner was killed when Emma was a toddler, and Gio mourns the beautiful voice he will never have again, so coping with loss is something they have in common. Their initial physical attraction quickly grows to something more as each hopes to fill the gap that loss and grief has left in his life. Although Mike wonders if he can truly fit into Gio's upperclass world, their bond grows stronger. Then, trouble strikes from outside when the machinations of an unscrupulous stage mother threaten to tear Gio and Mike apart—and ruin Emma's bright future


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.

These 2 books part of her Stars series are marvelous! You don't HAVE to be a music lover to enjoy them or even a carpenter *wink wink* you just have to love a great story and romance.

All of Kate's books can also be found on her website BUT LINKS INCLUDED) click here > Kate McMurray Website


I am so happy to have Kate as my Author Saturday Spotlight! It's a thrill not only as a fan but as an avid reader. You brighten up everyone's imagination with your words and we are eternally grateful!

Hi, thanks for having me!

 Can you tell us what your process is when a plot bunny hits? How does the story come to be?

It varies. I get a lot of my best ideas away from a computer, so I have to feverishly scribble everything I think of down before I forget it. I carry a couple of notebooks around with me at all times for this purpose. Then later, I’ll take that idea and freewrite a little, throw some characters together in a scene to see what works, and sometimes I use that, but sometimes it gets tossed. I’m definitely a planner, so once I have a sense for who the characters are and what their conflict is, I’ll make outlines and draw charts, so I usually have a pretty solid idea of what the novel will be before I start actually writing it. Then I revise like a madwoman; most of my books go through two or three drafts before they even get to a beta reader. (I am a super perfectionist, so everything gets polished to a shine before I let anyone see it.)

 What draws you to this genre, and would you ever venture to another?

I’ve always liked love stories above all others. I read a lot of romance as a teenager, and that was more influential than I would have thought at the time; my first few forays into writing fiction were all love stories with happy endings. I found gay romance maybe eight or ten years ago, and I got totally hooked on those stories, too. So I wrote a gay romance mostly just to see if I could do it, and I gave it to a friend of mine to read. Her assessment was that it wasn’t terrible—high praise, right?—so I revised it and sent it to a publisher, again mostly just to see if I could do it, like checking an item off my New Years Resolution list. The publisher bought it, and that became my first book, In Hot Pursuit. Once that first gay romance came out, nearly all of the other plot bunnies that have visited me have been other gay romance plots. I like this niche for a lot of reasons, but one thing that keeps me coming back is that I feel there is a lot of room to tell different kinds of stories than have been told before, that you can bend the traditional romance formula more and the readers are willing to go there with you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that formula—because, dude, I love a cheesy old Harlequin novel as much as the next girl—but I love that gay romance has room for all kinds of stories.

I’m not limiting myself, though. I figure I’ll write whatever stories come to me.

 The Stars that Tremble and The Silence of the Stars were brilliant! How much research into music (I AM aware you are a violinist) and carpentry and all that jazz did you have to do?

Thanks! I had to do a fair amount of research, probably more for The Stars that Tremble. I listened to a lot of opera in order to work out which arias Gio and Emma would reference in their various conversations. I’ve seen a fair amount of live opera—my mom and I go to the Met every year—but I had to look up the actual names of the arias and other details. But some of the music stuff came from life or memory. I knew a few students in the Juilliard program for teenagers, so the Olcott School Young Musicians Program is based on that. (I put the fictional Olcott geographically about where Juilliard is, actually, which was not terribly subtle of me.) I took music classes for years, so they formed the basis of Gio’s classroom scenes. I ran a bunch of those scenes by a friend of mine who used to teach voice classes as well, just to make sure I was getting the details right. My mom sings—she sang opera for a while, in fact—so some of the details about Gio’s life came from memories of bumming around her rehearsals when I was a teenager. Everett’s violin stuff in The Silence of the Stars is based almost entirely on my own experience, but I had to look up some things to verify facts as well.

As for Sandy and Mike, I knew very little about carpentry or construction, but I drew a lot from people I know who’d had kitchens and bathrooms renovated recently. Mike is based a little on the contractor who oversaw the renovation of my office, right down to the Brooklyn accent. And I went through a phase in which I was watching a lot of HGTV and thinking I could totally be an interior decorator, but that was mostly wishful thinking.

But I do a ton of research for all of my books because I want to get the details right.

 Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers, if not is that something you'd like to do?

The only collaborations I’ve done are short-story anthologies. These were collaborations insofar as, in both cases, the other authors and I agreed on a concept and put the whole thing together, but we contributed our own stories. (These are Playing Ball, which features four baseball romances, and For Love and Liberty, which features four Revolutionary War romances.)

I’d love to co-write eventually, although I’m worried I’m too much of a control freak to do it well.

 Of all the many amazing books you've written is there any character that holds a special place in your heart?

There are a few. I love all my characters, of course, but there are a couple that really got to me. Drew in Blind Items comes to mind immediately; there’s a lot of me in that character. I have a soft spot for some of my more neurotic characters, particularly Jake in Four Corners. Tristan in Save the Date was a really fun character to write because he’s so over the top but he went through an experience very close to something I went through, and he was catharsis for me in a lot of ways. And Sandy from The Silence of the Stars—he waltzed right into The Stars that Tremble and kind of took over every scene he was in, so I really wanted him to have his own book and his own happy ending. He’s a favorite among my recent characters.

 What or who made you choose to become a writer?

It’s hard to say. I’ve been writing since forever. My dad is a big storyteller, and I think I inherited some of it from him. I started writing short stories in middle school, and I had a few teachers who encouraged that. I got involved in my high school literary magazine and eventually became the editor in chief. Then I studied English in college and took a bunch of creative writing classes. I started writing novels in earnest around the time I moved to New York City when I was twenty-two, and I’ve been working at it ever since then.

 Can you tell us about any of your future projects?

I have a bunch of things on tap. I’m shopping around a historical romance set in Jazz Age New York City about a mobster and a vaudeville dancer. I’ve also finished a contemporary friends-to-lovers that my agent is calling “a gay When Harry Met Sally.” I wrote a new adult about a college junior who has just worked out that he’s gay; that just went out to beta readers so it’s a couple of months from being finished, I would say. And my big summer project now is that I’m working on a series about the guys who play in an LGBT amateur baseball league in NYC. I’m trying to finish the first three books in that series this year so that they’ll come out close together. So I very likely will not have another book out until this year at the earliest, but 2015 will be intense.

 I've gotta ask, I hear you're a big baseball fan (as am I). What's your favorite team?

The Yankees. If you’re reading, you either cheered or booed, but here’s the thing: I grew up with the Yankees. I started going to games with my dad in the early 90s when they weren’t so great. Then I moved to Massachusetts for college and, look, Boston, I love you, but your sports fans… well, anyway, that made me a more solid fan, basically. And I’ve been in New York for a while now, so why not root for the home team? (I hear there’s this other team in the city… the name rhymes with pets or something…)

 What was the hardest and easiest thing about writing your latest book?

Sandy was easy to write; the fun thing about a sequel is that I already had a strong sense of this character before I sat down to write a book. The tough part was Sandy’s background and his trauma relating to something horrific he saw while in Afghanistan with the Army. I didn’t want the book to be too heavy or angsty, but I didn’t want to give that kind of trauma short shrift either. Striking that balance was tough.

 How can your readers follow you through social media?

I’m most active on Twitter, where you can follow me @Katemcmwriter. I’m also sporadically on Facebook at Kate on Facebook. You can also keep abreast of my goings on at my blog, which can be found at  

Well thank you SO much for doing this interview! It has been a blast and I can't wait for your future projects.

 Now it's giveaway time!!!! The giveaway is a reader's choice so be sure to check out her Goodreads page and/or her website to see ALL of Kate McMurray's books. Contest ends on July 4th! Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. Good luck everyone and thank you Kate, again, for being this weeks spotlight!



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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cover Reveal for Black and White by Traci Hayden Available July 12th!


Cover Reveal of Black & White


Beth Huntley, photographer and devoted bachelorette, doesn’t believe in true love. Too much hurt and disappointment has left her hiding behind the camera. All she can see is a black and white world around her.

William Lorde, widower and father, was once an open and carefree man. The loss of his wife has left him wrapped up in the needs of his little girl. He can no longer see the colors of the world as he struggles each and every day.

What happens when these two similarly different people meet and help each other to step out of the world they’ve created for themselves? Will they find a love that helps them heal from the past, enjoy their present and create a beautiful future?

About Author

Traci Hayden is a forty-something mother of four beautiful girls and grandmother of one gorgeous little girl.

Being from Nova Scotia originally and now calling British Columbia home, Traci has traveled the country fueling her imagination from coast to coast for words that need to be put to paper.

Reading has always been a passion, but recently the obsession for writing has taken over. Traci loves all genres of writing, but currently is exploring the world of romance.

Traci’s life is shared with her partner of 16 years. He is her rock and constant support. She also shares her heart with two dogs and one cat.

Special Offer 

In celebration of the cover reveal for Black & White, enjoy this gift. This is a blog gift only. It won’t be announced anywhere else.

Of course, it is for today only (June 25th).

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